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Washington v. Syrotchen

May 13, 1991

THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, APPELLANT,
v.
THOMAS SYROTCHEN, RESPONDENT



Webster, A.c.j. Pekelis and Forrest, JJ., concur.

Author: Webster

The State of Washington appeals a dismissal of charges against Thomas Syrotchen, based on the trial court's conclusion that the 120-day speedy trial

time limit of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers had been violated. We reverse.

Facts

On May 12, 1989, Syrotchen was taken into federal custody and began serving a sentence imposed by the federal District Court. By agreement with the Snohomish County Sheriff as an agent for the United States Marshal, Syrotchen was placed in Snohomish County Jail under federal authority.

On June 15, 1989, Syrotchen was charged in Snohomish County Superior Court with two counts of second degree child molestation and two counts of indecent liberties. On June 16, 1989, Syrotchen was arraigned by video camera, while he remained in jail under federal custody. On June 21, 1989, the court set trial for August 1, 1989.

On June 23, 1989, federal authorities removed Syrotchen from the Snohomish County Jail and transported him to a federal prison in Colorado. On July 28, 1989, the State moved for a continuance of the trial date, arguing that there was "good cause" for a continuance since under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD) it would take at least 90 days to return Syrotchen to Snohomish County from Colorado. The court granted the motion and continued trial to November 27, 1989, allowing for a later challenge if necessary.

On November 2, 1989, Syrotchen filed a motion to dismiss the charges, alleging that both the IAD and the CrR 3.3 speedy trial requirements had been violated. On November 3, 1989, a second trial judge held that there had been a lack of "good cause" to grant the initial continuance since the State should have instituted detainer proceedings at the time of arraignment (June 16). The trial judge then dismissed the case for a violation of the IAD.

Discussion

The IAD, RCW 9.100.010, deals with situations where a prisoner held by one state (the sending state) has charges pending in another state (the receiving state), and the

receiving state seeks to obtain the prisoner for trial. The term "state" as used in the IAD includes the United States (Article 2(a)). IAD Article 2(b) defines the sending state as the "state in which a prisoner is incarcerated . . . at the time that a request for custody or availability is initiated". In this case, the federal government in Colorado was the sending state since Syrotchen was incarcerated there when Washington requested custody. IAD Article 2(c) defines the receiving state as "the ...


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