Division I: Stalking in Violation of NCO Requires Two Contacts Post-Protective Order.
The stalking statute is pretty clear. Stalking requires intentional and repeated harassment. Its a gross misdemeanor if generally done. Its a felony if done after a protective order. Here, Johnson was convicted after contacting the person once after the protective order was issued.
Here, Johnson continued to contact his ex after the breakup, she told him it was over. He kept it up, and it moved on to self harm. She blocked her phone. He emailed her. She blocked him. He then showed up at her place and essentially assaulted her and held her against her will. Scary stuff. He coerced her into sex, which she thought may end the situation (read: rape, people). Oh, and he had a backpack which was basically a Dexter kit: windex, drop cloth, saw, zip ties, gloves, paper towels. He had a gun with him. Ugh.
So then she got a no contact order. Guess who popped up and followed her. What did he have in the trunk? duct tape, sunglasses, and a black wig. WTF!
The prosecutor charged felony stalking for this incident. Now, its debatable whether the previous incident, what with the gun, could have amounted to a charge of felony stalking, as he had previously stalked her and threatened to harm himself. But what we have here is a charge based on the no contact order, and the one violation after the order. Under the statute, the stalking (i.e. - the repeatedness) has to be done in violation of an NCO. Its not stalking if its only once. So there was no stalking here in violation of an NCO. What this would amount to is generalize stalking.
Now, do I necessarily agree with the ruling on this? I don’t know. I think it is a blow to victim’s rights, for sure. But I think there is an easy fix in terms of rewording the statute. Do I think the legislature should hop on this and issue a fix? You bet your Lifesavers!
While Issaquah Legal Services does not yet have a Criminal attorney, our Issaquah Attorneys are more than happy to refer you to Lawyers in Issaquah and on the Eastside the do such work. We also plan to add a Criminal Attorney in the Near Future.