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State v. Peltier

Supreme Court of Washington, En Banc

August 21, 2014

The State of Washington, Petitioner,
v.
Joseph A. Peltier, Respondent

Argued: May 6, 2014.

Appeal from Snohomish County Superior Court. 02-1-01945-0. Honorable Ellen J. Fair.

Mark K. Roe, Prosecuting Attorney, and Seth A. Fine, Deputy, for petitioner.

Thomas M. Kummerow (of Washington Appellate Project ), for respondent.

AUTHOR: Justice Mary E. Fairhurst. WE CONCUR: Chief Justice Barbara A. Madsen, Justice Charles W. Johnson, Justice Susan Owens, Justice Debra L. Stephens, Justice K. Wiggins, Justice Steven C. Gonzá lez, Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud, Teresa C. Kulik, Justice Pro Tem.

OPINION

Page 458

Fairhurst, J.

[181 Wn.2d 292] ¶ 1 -- This case is about whether a defendant can relinquish the rights conferred by the statute of limitations in a pretrial agreement. We hold that a defendant may expressly waive the criminal statute of limitations in a pretrial agreement when the statute of limitations on the underlying charge has not yet run at the time the defendant enters the agreement. We reverse.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 2 The State charged Joseph A. Peltier on September 6, 2002 with two counts of second degree rape (as to B.M. and S.B.), one count of second degree child molestation (as to S.G.), and one count of second degree rape of a child (as to S.G.). The crimes occurred between 1993 and 2001. On July 14, 2003, to accommodate a negotiated settlement of his case, Peltier agreed to a stipulated trial on an amended information charging him with third degree rape (as to B.M. and J.D., a victim not referenced in the original information) and indecent liberties (as to S.B.). The charges as to S.G. were dismissed. On January 28, 2004, the trial judge found Peltier guilty and sentenced him. The statute of limitations on the four original charges had not yet run, but the statute of limitations for the charges he was convicted of had expired by January 1998, well before he was charged with and sentenced for them.

¶ 3 The agreement upon stipulation that was part of the stipulated trial agreement did not specifically mention the statute of limitations with regard to the charged crimes, but it did contain the following provisions:

6. AGREEMENT NOT TO CHALLENGE CONVICTION: The defendant agrees not to challenge the conviction for this crime, whether by moving to withdraw the stipulation, appealing the conviction, filing a personal restraint petition, or in any other way. ...
7. NON-COMPLIANCE WITH AGREEMENT: If the defendant fails to appear for sentencing, or if prior to sentencing the [181 Wn.2d 293] defendant commits any new offense or violates any condition of release, the State may recommend a more severe sentence.
If the defendant violates any other provision of this agreement, the State may either recommend a more severe sentence, file additional or greater charges, or re-file charges that were dismissed. The defendant waives any objection to the filing of additional or greater charges based on pre-charging or pre-trial ...

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