WA Legal Roundup: Division II
Carter was convicted of 1st degree robbery in 1998. He had prior convictions in Oregon and California. He appealed his conviction arguing that his right to a fair trial was violated when the jury saw him in shackles. He also argued that he should not have received a persistent offender sentence because his California assault is not a "strike" offense compared to Washington's "strike" offense. The court of appeals held that that he was not prejudiced when a juror saw him in shackles and rejected Carter's argument that his California assault was not comparable to the more serious offense in Washington. The Supreme Court denied his petition for review. He filed a habeas petition, which was dismissed as procedurally barred. In his PRP he seeks relief from he shackling and comparability issue.
The court stated that his petition was untimely as it was several years post conviction, thus, carter would have to meet an exception. The court found no exception existed for the shackling argument and therefore held that the petition was untimely as to the same.
The court found an exception to the untimely petition regarding the comparability issue under the very rare “actually innocent” exception. The court emphasizes that this exception is rarely used, however, finds that justice requires them to invoke the exception in this case. They reason that the California offense is not legally comparable to the Washington second degree assault offense based on the different intent elements. The court vacated Carter’s persistent offender sentence and remanded for resentencing.