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State v. Cline

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2

April 22, 2014

The State of Washington, Appellant,
Teresa Lynn Cline, Respondent

Appeal from Cowlitz Superior Court. Docket No: 12-1-00627-7. Date filed: 09/20/2012. Judge signing: Honorable Stephen M Warning.

Susan I. Baur, Prosecuting Attorney, and Sean M. Brittain, Deputy, for appellant.

James K. Morgan, for respondent.

AUTHOR: J. Robin Hunt, P.J. We concur: Thomas R. Bjorgen, J., Bradley A. Maxa, J.


Page 615

 J. Robin Hunt, P.J.

[180 Wn.App. 645] ¶ 1 The State of Washington appeals the superior court's order granting Teresa Lynn Cline's Knapstad [1] motion and dismissing without prejudice the first degree custodial interference charge against her. The State argues that the superior court erred in concluding as [180 Wn.App. 646] a matter of law that there was no material dispute that Cline had intentionally taken the child with intent to deprive the child's father of contact for a " protracted period" (here, a full weekend) for purposes of the custodial interference statute.[2] Cline cross-appeals, arguing that, if we agree with the State, the State failed to establish a question of fact about whether she took the child with intent to deprive the father of contact. Holding that, under the circumstances here, a weekend may constitute a " protracted period" for a 14-month-old child within the meaning of RCW 9A.40.060(3), we reverse and remand for trial.


I. Custodial Interference

¶ 2 Joel Gavino and Ranee Cline are BG's [3] biological parents; Teresa Lynn Cline is Ranee Cline's [4] mother and, thus, BG's maternal grandmother. On June 6, 2012, when BG was almost 14 months old, the Department of Child and Family Services held a " Family Team Decision Meeting" with Gavino, Ranee, and other family members about BG's supervision and safety. Clerk's Papers (CP) at 20. This meeting resulted in a safety plan, which provided that BG would live with Gavino, that Ranee could have only supervised visits with BG because of her drug and/or methadone use, and that relatives could supervise these visits.

¶ 3 After this June 6 meeting, Cline and her mother, Rosemary Cline (BG's great grandmother) were apparently engaged in an ongoing dispute with Gavino about visitation with BG. Gavino refused Rosemary's request to take BG [180 Wn.App. 647] camping at Silver Lake on Father's Day weekend. On June 15, the Friday of Father's Day weekend, Child Protective Services (CPS) worker Tarassa Wiper conducted a home visit at Gavino's residence. Gavino expressed concern about the relatives' " reliability and trust worthiness [sic]" as supervisors for Ranee's visits with BG. CP at 20. Cline and Ranee arrived to pick up some of Ranee's personal items, and Ranee " request[ed] visitation." CP at 20. Wiper arranged for Ranee to have visitation with BG that Sunday evening with Gavino supervising.

¶ 4 At some point after Ranee and Gavino arrived, one of Gavino's neighbors saw Cline leave the house, move her car further down the street, return inside the house, walk back out of the house with BG about three minutes later, run from the house to her car, and drive away with BG. When they realized BG was gone, Gavino and Ranee unsuccessfully tried to contact Cline; and Gavino called 911. When the deputies arrived, Ranee denied having given Cline permission to take BG,

Page 616

and she supplied a written statement to that effect. Ranee also told the deputies that her grandmother, Rosemary, had requested visitation with BG that weekend to go camping at Silver Lake.

¶ 5 Meanwhile, Gavino's aunt, Diana Waadevig, engaged in a text message conversation with Rosemary. Waadevig texted Rosemary, " You might want to call [Cline] and tell her to return [BG] before she gets into trouble." CP at 35. Rosemary responded, " [T]his would of not came [sic] to this if you would of [sic] just let ranee [sic] and the family see him once in a while." CP at 37.

¶ 6 Deputies located Rosemary, Cline, Ranee, and BG at a campground near Silver Lake. Ranee told one deputy that she had not contacted the police to report that she had located BG because she was waiting for her phone to charge; despite her earlier denial, Ranee admitted that she had told Cline to take the child. After advising Cline of her [180 Wn.App. 648] Miranda[5] rights, the deputies questioned her. Cline told the deputies that she and Ranee had been upset to find someone from CPS at Gavino's house when they arrived and that Ranee had asked her (Cline) to take BG. Cline also ...

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