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In re Boot

November 7, 1996

IN RE: JERRY J. BOOT, PETITIONER. STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
CARLOS JULIAN CORNEJO, PETITIONER.



Appeal from Superior Court, Yakima County; 94-1-01275-0. Honorable F. J. Gavin, Judge.

Authored by Philip A. Talmadge. Concurring: Barbara Durham, James M. Dolliver, Charles Z. Smith, Richard P. Guy, Charles W. Johnson, Barbara A. Madsen, Gerry L. Alexander, Richard B. Sanders.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Talmadge

EN BANC

TALMADGE, J. -- Jerry Boot and Carlos Julian Cornejo are juveniles charged respectively with murder and kidnapping. Under an amendment to the Basic Juvenile Court Act, RCW 13.04, contained in the omnibus violence prevention act of 1994, Laws of 1994, 1st Sp. Sess., ch. 7 (the Act), both came under adult criminal court jurisdiction, without a hearing pursuant to RCW 13.40.110 in the juvenile court on the declination of juvenile court jurisdiction.

Boot and Cornejo now argue RCW 13.04.030(1)(e)(iv) permits a superior court to hold a hearing to determine whether persons who are less than 18 years of age should be subject to juvenile court jurisdiction even though the statute provides exclusive original adult court jurisdiction over juveniles who commit certain violent crimes. Boot and Cornejo also argue if a hearing is not permitted under the 1994 amendment, RCW 13.04.030(1)(e)(iv) is unconstitutional, violating numerous state and federal constitutional guarantees.

We hold RCW 13.04.030(1)(e)(iv) does not require a hearing pursuant to RCW 13.40.110 in juvenile court on the declination of juvenile court jurisdiction, nor does it permit a hearing in superior court to determine whether persons who are less than 18 years of age, meeting the criteria of the statute, are subject to juvenile court jurisdiction. We further hold the statute is not unconstitutional, under either the United States or Washington Constitutions.

ISSUES

1. Does RCW 13.04.030(1)(e)(iv) require a hearing in juvenile court pursuant to RCW 13.40.110 or permit a hearing in superior court to determine whether persons who are less than 18 years of age should be subject to juvenile court jurisdiction?

2. Does RCW 13.04.030(1)(e)(iv) violate Wash. Const., art. II, sec. 19?

3. Does RCW 13.04.030(1)(e)(iv) violate due process or equal protection rights of youthful offenders subject to its provisions, if it does not require a hearing?

4. Does RCW 13.04.030(1)(e)(iv) violate constitutional double jeopardy principles? *fn1

FACTS

A. FACTS RELATING TO BOOT

On December 27, 1994, Jerry Julius Boot and his brother Kevin forced a young woman into the back of their car at gunpoint, robbed her, and shot her in the head, killing her. Jerry Boot was 16 at the time of the offense. He is presently confined in the adult section of the Spokane County Jail with bond set at $1,000,000, awaiting trial on the charge of Premeditated Murder in the First Degree under RCW 9A.32.030(1)(a) and, in the alternative, Murder in the First Degree under RCW 9A.32.030(1)(c) (felony murder). Either offense is a "serious violent offense" as defined in RCW 9.94A.030. Because the charges against Boot come under the purview of RCW 13.04.030(1)(e)(iv), the State filed the case in the Spokane County Superior Court, rather than the juvenile court.

On February 14, 1995, Boot moved to have his case transferred to juvenile court for a hearing to determine whether he should be tried as a juvenile. The court denied the motion on May 5, 1995. Boot did not seek discretionary review of the trial court's decision, but filed a Personal Restraint Petition on September 11, 1995 with Division III of the Court of Appeals. He contended his "case should be remanded to the Superior Court with instructions to remand Mr. Boot's case to the Juvenile Division for a Declination Hearing." Personal Restraint Petition at 6-7. *fn2

B. FACTS RELATING TO CORNEJO

Carlos Julian Cornejo was arrested and charged for his alleged involvement in the robbery of two vehicles and the kidnapping of three men (Cruz, Mitchell, and Huston) on July 21, 23, and 28, 1994. On September 12, 1994, the State filed an amended information charging Cornejo with five crimes: First Degree Robbery (Count I) (for the theft on July 21), First Degree Kidnapping (of Cruz) (Count II), First Degree Robbery (for the theft on July 23) (Count III), First Degree Kidnapping (of Mitchell) (Count IV), and First Degree Kidnapping (of Huston) (Count V). The kidnapping counts are "serious violent offenses" under RCW 9.94A.030(31)(a); the robbery counts are not.

On October 7, 1994, Cornejo moved for dismissal of the two first degree robbery counts. *fn3 The apparent reason for his motion was to allow for the trial in juvenile court of the robbery charges, insofar as they are not "serious violent offenses" requiring trial in superior court. On the same day, he moved to sever the first degree robbery and the kidnapping counts arising on July 21, 1994 from the other kidnapping and robbery counts arising on July 23 and 28, pursuant to CrR 4.4(b).

On November 29, 1994, the trial court entered two orders. The first order continued Cornejo's trial on the kidnapping charges until resolution of the robbery charges in juvenile court. The second order remanded to the juvenile court the question of whether the juvenile court should exercise jurisdiction over the first degree robbery counts. Subsequently, on May 31, 1995, the court commissioner for the juvenile division of the court entered an order extending jurisdiction over Cornejo for the first degree robbery charges until Cornejo's twenty-first birthday. Thus, Cornejo is presently awaiting trial on the kidnapping charges in superior court and trial on the robbery charges in juvenile court.

On February 3, 1995, Cornejo filed in the Court of Appeals a Motion for Discretionary Review, which was granted on May 18, 1995. On October 19, 1995, the Court of Appeals consolidated Boot's Personal Restraint Petition (PRP) with Cornejo's appeal. We granted direct review of Cornejo's appeal and Boot's PRP upon the transfer of the cases by the Court of Appeals. RAP 4.3.

ANALYSIS

A. RCW 13.04.030(1)(e)(iv) DOES NOT PERMIT A HEARING

ON JUVENILE JURISDICTION

In 1994, the Legislature enacted comprehensive changes to state law for the express purpose of deterring violent conduct. One of the areas addressed was the Basic Juvenile Court Act, RCW 13.04. The Legislature amended RCW 13.04.030 to bring certain offenses committed by 16- and 17-year-olds under the "exclusive original jurisdiction" of the adult criminal court.

In the ordinary case, a juvenile who is arrested for a crime comes under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the juvenile court for all proceedings enumerated in RCW 13.04.030, although certain matters are exclusively within the purview of the adult court. RCW 13.04.030(2). *fn4 After a hearing, however, the juvenile court may decline jurisdiction of an accused juvenile offender after finding "the declination would be in the best interest of the juvenile or the public," and transfer the case for adult criminal prosecution. RCW 13.40.110. The statute enumerates the prerequisites, based on age and the seriousness of the offense, under which the juvenile court may decline jurisdiction. The trial court must weigh these factors in deciding whether adult or juvenile court jurisdiction is appropriate. State v. Furman, 122 Wash. 2d 440, 447, 858 P.2d 1092 (1993). Before the 1994 amendment at issue here, both Cornejo and Boot would have been entitled to a declination hearing in the juvenile court before their cases could come under the jurisdiction of the adult criminal court.

After the 1994 amendment to RCW 13.04.030(1)(e)(iv), the statute now provides:

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, the juvenile courts in the several counties of this state, shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all proceedings:

(e) Relating to juveniles alleged or found to have committed offenses, traffic infractions, or violations as provided in RCW 13.40.020 through 13.40.230, unless:

(iv) The juvenile is sixteen or seventeen years old and the alleged offense is: (A) A serious violent offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030 committed on or after June 13, 1994; *fn5 or (B) a violent offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030 committed on or after June 13, 1994, and the juvenile has a criminal history consisting of: (I) One or more prior serious violent offenses; (II) two or more prior violent offenses; *fn6 or (III) three or more of any combination of the following offenses: Any class A felony, any class B felony, vehicular assault, or manslaughter in the second degree, all of which must have been committed after the juvenile's thirteenth birthday and prosecuted separately. In such a case the adult criminal court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction.

If the juvenile challenges the state's determination of the juvenile's criminal history, the state may establish the offender's criminal history by a preponderance of the evidence.

If the criminal history consists of adjudications entered upon a plea of guilty, the state shall not bear a burden of establishing the knowing and voluntariness of the plea[.]

(Emphasis added.) This addition to the Basic Juvenile Court Act is a reflection of the Legislature's expressed intent to address youth violence by increasing the "severity and certainty of punishment for youth and adults who commit violent acts." Laws of 1994, 1st Sp. Sess., ch. 7, sec. 101. The Legislature here clearly determined to increase the punishment for youthful offenders for the most serious violent crimes by statutorily expanding the jurisdiction of the adult criminal court over 16- and 17-year-olds who commit such crimes without a hearing in juvenile court under RCW 13.40.110.

Although the specific language of RCW 13.04.030(1)(e)(iv) confers "exclusive original jurisdiction" on the adult court over specified youthful offenders like Boot and Cornejo, they argue the language of the statute does not forbid the adult ...


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