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State v. Cables

December 2, 1996

STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
ELNORA CABLES, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 94-1-07147-1. Date filed: 06/21/96. Judge signing: Hon. Jo Anne Alumbaugh.

PER CURIAM. The State seeks discretionary review of a decision on RALJ appeal reversing Elnora Cables' conviction for violating a protective order. The State contends the superior court erred in raising and considering the sufficiency of the evidence sua sponte. The State also contends the court erroneously concluded that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction. We grant discretionary review, accelerate review of the merits, and reverse and remand.

DECISION

The facts are known to the parties and will be recited only when necessary to explain our decisions.

The district court found that Elnora wrote a letter to her former husband, Roland, and had their son take it to him. That fact was not disputed below and is not disputed on appeal. The district court concluded that Elnora's actions violated a protective order prohibiting her from having contact with Roland except through legal counsel.

In reversing, the RALJ court apparently concluded that "contact" did not occur because Roland called police before he read the letter. Whether or when Roland read the letter is immaterial, however. The fact that Elnora addressed a letter to Roland and had it delivered to him is "contact" within the meaning of the no contact provision.

The RALJ court also apparently felt that the letter did not violate the order because it contained some language relating to visitation. The protective order does not make any exception for contact relating to visitation. The order allows contact only through legal counsel. Even if the order is read as containing an exception for contact relating to visitation, the letter's contents go well beyond the scope of the exception.

In short, the RALJ court misconstrued the protective order and erroneously concluded that the conviction was not supported by sufficient evidence. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for review of the issues raised by Cables in her RALJ appeal.

19961202 ...


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