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State v. K.J.

December 9, 1996

STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
K.J., D/O/B: 10/31/77, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 95-8-03770-6. Date filed: 08/28/95. Judge signing: Hon. Norma S. Huggins.

PER CURIAM. K.J. appeals his juvenile court Disposition of first degree robbery. He argues that reversal is warranted because the State failed to prove that a deadly weapon was used in the robbery and because the State's findings of fact and Conclusions of law are tardy. We reject both arguments and affirm.

FACTS

K.J. called for a cab. Driver, Yohanes Woube picked up K.J. and his three male friends in front of K.J.'s home. After they were driven to Kentucky Fried Chicken, the group told Woube to take them back to K.J.'s house.

K.J. was sitting in the backseat directly behind Woube. Abdul Jones sat in the rear middle seat and Rachelle Crain was sitting to his right. Antoine Brown was in the front passenger seat. While Woube was driving, K.J. asked him why he had called the police on him two weeks ago. Woube then felt "something with a handle" on the back of his neck. He knew K.J. was holding the object because he could see Abdul Jones and Crain from the rearview mirror still eating. He could not see K.J.

Woube heard Crain and Abdul arguing about whether to "blow off his head." He also heard one of them say "we're never paying this fare." Frightened, Woube pulled into a garage where his friends were working. Woube jumped from the cab, asked the group for his $14 fare, and told them to get out of his cab. Woube reached in and grabbed K.J. He continued to ask for his fare. K.J. slapped Woube and began screaming at him to take them home. After a brief scuffle, K.J. and his friends walked away. The police found them nearby.

Stan Lane was working nearby. He saw Woube scuffle with K.J. He also saw Crain exit the cab with a black revolver that he transferred from his left side to his right pocket.

DECISION

As charged here, a person is guilty of first degree robbery "if in commission of a robbery or of immediate flight therefrom, he: (a) is armed with a deadly weapon; or (b) displays what appears to be a firearm or other deadly weapon[.]" K.J. contends that the State failed to prove that he was "armed" with a weapon because Woube did not see what was placed on his neck and the police did not recover a gun from K.J. K.J.'s argument fails when we apply the sufficiency of the evidence test.

Under that test we must decide whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, a rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Green, 94 Wash. 2d 216, 221, 616 P.2d 628 (1980). Evidence showing that Jones was armed may be circumstantial. See State v. Henderson, 34 Wash. App. 865, 868, 664 P.2d 1291 (1983)(sufficient evidence to convict defendant of first degree robbery where defendant walked into store with hand concealed in pants pocket with bulge, and demanding "all the bills".)

Here, Woube testified K.J. placed an object with a handle on his neck immediately after K.J. accused him of calling the police on him. K.J.'s friends then encouraged him to "blow off his head". Lane testified he saw Crain exit the back of the cab with a revolver. There is ample evidence to support the court's Disposition.

K.J.'s second contention that tardy entry of findings of fact and Conclusions of law requires reversal is also unconvincing. Here, the State filed the findings and Conclusions approximately three months after the statutory time period expired. Our Supreme Court has declined to adopt a bright line rule requiring automatic reversal of a Disposition whenever the State fails to comply with the time frame presented in JuCR 7.11(d).

Instead, to merit reversal, appellant must show that he was prejudiced by the late entry. State v. Royal, 122 Wash. 2d 413, 422-23, 858 P.2d 259 (1993). Because no such showing has been made, reversal is not warranted.

19961209 ...


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