Court of Appeals: Div. III – Six Months Not “Shortly After”…This Time
This one is nice and short. Combs was released from prison on a drug possession charge. Six months later he was charged with attempting to elude a police officer. RCW 9.9A.535(3)(t) allows a court to impose an exceptional sentence if the “defendant committed the current offense shortly after being released from incarceration.” This is referred to as “rapid recidivism.” Say that five times fast!
This case came down to what does “shortly after” mean? Is it a week? A month? Six months? The Court of Appeals held that considering the facts of this case, six months was not “shortly after.” But they weren’t going as far as to draw a line in the sand at six months for every case. The reasoning being that if the defendant had no opportunity to re-offend for six months or immediate access to the means to re-offend (i.e., it takes a while to find contraband), then it could be considered “shortly after.” In addition, some crimes “require a lengthy period of time to plan or come to fruition.” It takes time to knock over a liquor store! Combs exceptional sentence was reversed.