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State v. C.J.

December 9, 1996

STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
C.J., APPELLANT.



Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 95-8-04131-2. Date filed: 10/27/95. Judge signing: Hon. Robert Alsdorf.

PER CURIAM. C.J. appeals his juvenile court conviction of second degree assault. He argues that there was insufficient evidence to show that he intended "to create apprehension of bodily harm" when he placed a knife against the victim's throat as a "joke". He also argues that the court's findings on his intent are inadequate. Because C.J.'s arguments are not supported by the record, we affirm.

FACTS

Debra Pondelick teaches at Auburn High School. She was teaching a class when "all of a sudden I just felt a knife up against my throat[.]" Pondelick stated that because the person was behind her, she had no idea who was holding the knife. She stated that she was enraged and scared. After pushing the knife away from her, she turned around and saw that it was C.J., a student she knew. He told her it was a joke. Pondelick testified she had never been "that mad in my life, or frightened, for that matter."

C.J. admitted holding a cutting knife up to Pondelick from behind. He testified he placed the knife in front of Pondelick but that he did not touch her with it. According to C.J., he was "just going to go up and startle Debbie like friends joke around and stuff."

The court found that C.J. intended to make Pondelick think she was in danger. The court ruled:

The fact is you intended that she initially think there was danger.

You agree that you did startle her. She did think there was danger, which was a reasonable reaction.

It doesn't take long to violate the law, but the level of intent you had at that time was sufficient to violate the law, and it is clear to me that level of intent is proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

DECISION

Here, the State was required to show that C.J. acted with an intent to create in Pondelick's mind a reasonable apprehension of harm. State v. Byrd, 125 Wash. 2d 707, 713, 887 P.2d 396 (1995). C.J. contends that there was insufficient evidence to show that he acted with such intent. His argument is meritless.

An appellate court reviews the sufficiency of the evidence by determining whether after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the State, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Green, 94 Wash. 2d 216, 616 P.2d 628 (1980).

Here, it was undisputed that C.J. approached Pondelick from behind so that she could not see him, and that he placed a knife in front of her. He admitted that he intended to startle her and that she was startled. Pondelick testified that she had never been so frightened. When the evidence is viewed in a light most favorable to the State, it amply supports C.J.'s conviction.

C.J. also contends that the court's written findings are inadequate under JuCR 7.11(d) because they fail to expressly articulate that he intended to cause apprehension of harm. This argument fails. The findings state that C.J. raised a knife to Pondelick's neck, that she was frightened of serious bodily injury and that C.J. admitted he wanted to startle her and that he in fact did startle her. Implicit in these findings is a ...


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