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State v. Waters

November 25, 1996

STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
JEREMY C. WATERS, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 94-8-08201-1. Date filed: 05/08/95. Judge signing: Hon. Mary W. Brucker.

Authored by Walter E. Webster. Concurring: C. Kenneth Grosse, William W. Baker.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Webster

WEBSTER, J. -- Jeremy Waters, a juvenile, appeals his conviction of first degree robbery and attempted first degree robbery. He admits assaulting the two victims, but contends that there is insufficient evidence that he stole or attempted to steal their skateboards. He also argues that he was denied effective assistance of counsel. Because the evidence is sufficient for both counts, we affirm.

FACTS

Michael Luz and Eric Monnett were skateboarding when Waters and his three companions began to chase them. Waters and his companions surrounded the two boys, and Waters asked Luz twice for his skateboard. Someone hit Luz in the head from behind and took his skateboard. Luz did not see who it was, but knew that Waters was the only person immediately behind him. Monnett saw Waters hit Luz, but testified that Luz dropped his skateboard and that he did not see anyone take it away from him. After being hit and kicked, Luz was pushed into some bushes.

While Waters and his friends were hitting Luz, Monnett hit one of the attackers with his skateboard. One of Waters's friends started punching Monnett while asking him to give up his skateboard and trying to take it away from him. Another member of Waters's group, who Monnett was not able to see, hit him in the head with Luz's skateboard while the first assailant continued to try to get the board from him. Monnett was able to keep hold of his skateboard, but ended up in the bushes too. Luz went back to the scene of the incident later that evening and found his skateboard in the bushes on the other side of a barbed-wire fence.

Waters was convicted of first degree robbery for taking Luz's skateboard and attempted first degree robbery for his participation in the attempted taking of Monnett's board.

Discussion

Sufficiency of the Evidence -- Taking By Force

Waters contends that there was not sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he took Luz's skateboard or that he took it by force.

In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we examine whether any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State. State v. Kleist, 126 Wash. 2d 432, 435, 895 P.2d 398 (1995). A challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence admits the truth of the State's evidence and all inferences that can reasonably be drawn therefrom. State v. Salinas, 119 Wash. 2d 192, 201, 829 P.2d 1068 (1992).

Waters contends that the court's finding that he took Luz's skateboard is not supported by the evidence. Luz's testimony that someone took his skateboard after he was hit in the head supports the finding. Waters had just asked Luz for the skateboard and was the only person standing behind him at that time. Moreover, the evidence that the board was found some distance from the scene of the scuffle supports the inference that the board was taken.

Waters's contention that there is insufficient evidence to support the finding that he took the skateboard by force is without merit given that he hit Luz in the ...


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