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State v. Coombes

January 27, 1997

STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
RONALD COOMBES, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 94-1-01331-5. Date filed: 04/21/95. Judge signing: Hon. Harriett M. Cody.

Petition for Review Denied June 3, 1997,

Authored by Ann L. Ellington. Concurring: Susan R. Agid, William W. Baker.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ellington

ELLINGTON, J. -- Ronald Coombes appeals the imposition of a restitution order, contending that it was untimely entered and impermissibly broad in scope. We find that he waived the timeliness issue by participating in several hearings held after the statutory time limit and that the order was not overbroad because it was limited to the foreseeable consequences of his crime. We therefore affirm the order.

This opinion has no precedential value and will be filed according to the rules of the court. See RCW 2.06.040; RAP 10.4(h). The facts are known to the parties and will be mentioned only as necessary for an understanding of this opinion.

Facts/Procedure

David Johnston owned a video store, which he thought he had insured through his insurance agent, Ronald Coombes. Johnston made premium payments directly to Coombes. Although Johnston's policy was canceled for nonpayment in August 1990, Coombes collected premiums as late as August 1991. After Johnston's business was destroyed by an explosion, Coombes informed Johnston that his policy did not cover his loss. Suspicious, Johnston contacted his attorney and eventually learned that the purported insurance policy did not exist.

Coombes entered an Alford *fn1 plea to first degree theft of the premiums.

At his sentencing on May 20, 1994, the parties and the court discussed scheduling a restitution hearing, which the parties agreed to defer because of the relatively complex issues. The court initially suggested holding the hearing on July 22, 1994, but set the hearing for September 2, 1994 after defense counsel apprised the court he would be unavailable because of his vacation schedule.

For reasons unclear, the September 2, 1994 hearing was continued to September 30, 1994, then to November 27, 1994, and then to December 9, 1994. *fn2 At the December hearing, defense counsel stated that she did not object to the timeliness of the hearing, believing that the case was set over with the agreement of the previous defense counsel, who had withdrawn:

Prosecutor: And I'd just like to put on the record [that] at the sentencing hearing a restitution date of September 2nd was set which was beyond the sixty-day period, but that was not objected to because of the complex issues.

Would that be a fair representation, [counsel]?

D. Counsel: I wasn't obviously involved in the case at that point. But my understanding is that this was set over for further briefing, and it was . . . by [former defense counsel's] agreement. So I have not made an objection to this hearing taking place now or any of the previous hearings under the [Krall] case.

The purpose of the December hearing was to determine whether the court had authority to order restitution beyond the stolen payments, not to determine the amount of restitution. The court ruled that it had such authority because Johnston's losses were a foreseeable consequence of Coombes' criminal conduct. The court noted that the charging period ended ...


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