WA Legal Roundup - WA Supreme Court: No specific findings competency for waiver needed for pro-se; County jails need to provide good-time credit; failure to define aggravators not a manifest constitutional error; Statutory language trumps on lien
In this original personal restraint petition, Demar Rhome argues that the state and federal constitutions require independent findings of fact that a defendant is competent to waive counsel and represent himself at trial. He also argues that the colloquy conducted by the trial court here was inadequate to secure a valid waiver of counsel. We disagree and dismiss his personal restraint petition.
We hold that the statutory issue is properly before us. We also hold that former RCW 9.92.151 requires a county jail to provide opportunities for a presentence inmate to earn good-time credit. We do not reach Talley's constitutional issue. Because the Skamania County Jail policy conflicts with former RCW 9.92.151, Talley should receive earned early-release credit at the statutory maximum rate of 15 percent.
John Gordon and Charles Bukovsky were each charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of Brian Lewis. The State also sought two aggravating sentencing factors: deliberate cruelty and particular vulnerability of the victim. The jury was instructed to determine whether the State v. Gordon (John Caldwell); State v. Bukovsky (Charles Andrew), 84240-0 aggravators were present, but the instructions did not define "deliberate cruelty" or "particular vulnerability." The defendants did not object to the instructions on that basis. The jury found the defendants guilty and also found the aggravators applied. The trial court imposed exceptional sentences. We must decide whether the failure to provide detailed instructions defining the meaning of "deliberate cruelty" or "particular vulnerability" is a manifest error of constitutional magnitude that may be addressed for the first time on appeal. We hold that it is not and therefore reverse the Court of Appeals.
RCW 60.04.091(2) requires mechanics' liens to be "acknowledged pursuant to chapter 64.08 RCW" -- that is, an authorized person must certify in writing that the signor executed the lien freely and voluntarily. RCW 64.08.050. RCW 60.04.091(2) also includes a sample claim of lien that the statute states "shall be sufficient" but that does not include language satisfying the acknowledgment requirement. Contractors Athletic Fields Inc. (AFI) and Hos Bros. Construction Inc. each filed claims of lien that used the sample form and did not contain certificates of acknowledgment. In each case, the lower court concluded the lien was invalid. We disagree and hold that a claim of lien in the sample form is valid despite the absence of a proper acknowledgment.
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