Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Washington v. Skillman

April 11, 1991

THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
LYLE LEON SKILLMAN, APPELLANT



Morgan, J. Worswick, C.j., and Alexander, J., concur.

Author: Morgan

After the defendant was found guilty of attempted kidnapping in the second degree, the trial court sentenced him to an exceptional sentence of 36 months in prison, followed by 12 months of community placement. On this appeal, the sole remaining issue is whether the trial court had the authority to require, as a condition of an exceptional sentence, that the defendant serve community placement after his release from prison.*fn1 Holding that it did not, we reverse.

[1] A trial court's sentencing authority is limited to that expressed in the statutes. In re Carle, 93 Wash. 2d 31, 33, 604 P.2d 1293 (1980); State v. Theroff, 33 Wash. App. 741, 744, 657 P.2d 800, review denied, 99 Wash. 2d 1015 (1983); In re Lund, 57 Wash. App. 668, 789 P.2d 325 (1990); see also State v. Nass, 76 Wash. 2d 368, 370, 456 P.2d 347 (1969). If this were not true, a defendant would not have the opportunity to know in advance the legal consequences of his or her conduct, see Seattle v. Pullman, 82 Wash. 2d 794, 797, 514 P.2d 1059 (1973) (due process requires fair notice, so that person of ordinary intelligence need not guess at what the law requires); State v. Shipp, 93 Wash. 2d 510, 516, 610 P.2d 1322 (1980) (same); In re Williams, 111 Wash. 2d 353, 362-63, 759 P.2d 436 (1988) (ex post facto clause prohibits more severe punishment than was allowed when crime was committed); State v. Edwards, 104 Wash. 2d 63, 70-71, 701 P.2d 508

(1985) (same), and the judiciary would be able to intrude into the realm of legislative power, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers. Hendrix v. Seattle, 76 Wash. 2d 142, 157, 456 P.2d 696 (1969) (power of Legislature "to define crimes and prescribe punishment is virtually exclusive, nearly unlimited, and leaves practically no correlative power to do the same in the courts"), cert. denied, 397 U.S. 948 (1970), overruled on other grounds in McInturf v. Horton, 85 Wash. 2d 704, 707, 538 P.2d 499 (1975); State ex rel. Scaggs v. Superior Court, 169 Wash. 292, 297, 13 P.2d 1086 (1932) (same).

[2] In Washington, the authority to sentence in felony cases is prescribed by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1981 RCW 9.94A (SRA). To understand that authority, it is necessary to distinguish between the nature or elements of a sentence, on the one hand, and its duration, on the other. Under the SRA, the authority to include particular elements as part of a sentence does not vary according to whether the sentence is standard or exceptional. D. Boerner, Sentencing in Washington § 9.22(a) (1985). A sentence within either category must be determinate, RCW 9.94A.120(1) (standard), RCW 9.94A.370(1) (standard), RCW 9.94A.120(3) (exceptional), and a determinate sentence can contain no more than the elements set forth in RCW 9.94A.030(14).*fn2 In contrast, the authority to set the duration of a sentence, as opposed to its elements, varies according to whether the sentence is standard or exceptional. RCW 9.94A.120(2); D. Boerner, Sentencing in Washington § 9.22(a) (1985).

Before 1988, the SRA neither authorized nor required what is now known as community placement, In re Lund, supra, and it did not require what it called "community

supervision."*fn3 It authorized community supervision as an element of first-time offender sentences, RCW 9.94A.120(5), and as an element of sentences of 1 year or less, RCW 9.94A.383; In re Chatman, 59 Wash. App. 258, 262, 796 P.2d 755 (1990), but it did not authorize community supervision as an element of sentences of more than 1 year. In re Chatman, at 262.

[3] In 1988, the Legislature enacted RCW 9.94A.120(8)(a),*fn4 which for the first time injected the concept of community placement into the SRA. In re Lund, supra. That statute required community placement in conjunction with a prison sentence for any of the crimes listed therein. However, it did not require that a trial court impose community placement when sentencing for a crime not listed therein, and it did not authorize or allow community placement in situations where it was not required.*fn5 Also, it did not authorize community supervision in situations where it had not been authorized before. In summary, then, since

the inception of the SRA neither community placement nor community supervision has been authorized as an element of a prison sentence, either standard or exceptional, except in those situations where community placement is required by RCW 9.94A.120(8)(a).

State v. Bernhard, 108 Wash. 2d 527, 741 P.2d 1 (1987) is not to the contrary. In that case, the Supreme Court held that where community supervision was authorized as an element of the sentence, the trial court could impose reasonable conditions of supervision not listed in the authorizing statute. It did not hold that the trial court could include community supervision as an element of a sentence when there was no statutory authority to do so.*fn6 Thus, the court said "that the power to impose ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.