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State v. F.P.L.

May 5, 1997

STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
[F.P.L.], B.D. 02-03-80, APPELLANT. STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT, V. [G.G.], B.D. 12-26-78, APPELLANT. STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT, V. [C.O.], B.D. 06-09-80, APPELLANT. STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT, V. [D.O.V.], B.D. 11-02-79, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 94-8-08156-1. Date filed: 03/30/95. Judge signing: Hon. Marsha J. Pechman.

Authored by C. Kenneth Grosse. Concurring: Mary K. Becker, Ronald E. Cox.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Grosse

GROSSE, J. -- In these four cases arising from the same incident, we find that each information was constitutionally sufficient with regard to the intent element of assault; that the juvenile court did not violate the appellants' Fifth Amendment right of silence in weighing the evidence and deciding the case; that the claims of self-defense were properly tried; and that there is sufficient evidence of accomplice liability where that was the basis of the conviction.

F.P.L. and G.G. allege the information was insufficient because it failed to charge the juvenile appellants with the intent to assault with a deadly weapon, thereby omitting an essential element of the crime. They argue that the juvenile court should have granted the motion to dismiss after the State rested.

It is undisputed that an information is constitutionally defective if an essential element of the charged crime is omitted. *fn1 Further, there is no dispute that intent is an essential element of the assault charge.

However, that this charging document was sufficient was resolved in State v. Chaten. *fn2

There, in an assault case involving a similar information, this court applied the strict construction standard, but nevertheless sustained the information.

For example, in Hopper the court stated that the term "assault"

includes the element of intent, and, therefore, construed liberally also includes the knowledge element, which was an essential element in that second degree assault case. Similarly, in Dukowitz the court noted that "assault is by definition an intentional act and is commonly understood as such." Thus, the court concluded, "a document charging an assault can be 'fairly construed' as having stated the element of intent." Because an assault is commonly understood as an intentional act, we hold that the information, which charged assault, did not omit the element of intent. *fn3

Additionally, the definition of "assault" includes a willful act. *fn4

The Supreme Court has held that language alleging assault contemplates knowing, purposeful conduct. *fn5 The word "assault" is not commonly understood as referring to an accidental or unknowing act. *fn6 And, commentators support the view that the term "assault" includes the element of intent. *fn7

Further, as pointed out in State v. Davis, *fn8 all forms of common law assault require intentional conduct. The three ways of committing common law assault are:

(1) intending to inflict bodily injury on another, accompanied with the apparent present ability to do so, (2) intentionally creating in another person reasonable apprehension and fear of bodily injury, and (3) intentionally committing an unlawful touching, regardless whether physical harm results.

Under common law a person could not be charged with committing an unintentional assault. Given all this, the juvenile court did not err in denying the motion to ...


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