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State v. Hart

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 3

June 18, 2015

The State of Washington, Respondent,
v.
Joseph William Hart, Appellant

Appeal from Franklin Superior Court. Docket No: 12-1-50117-2. Judge signing: Honorable Carrie L Runge. Judgment or order under review. Date filed: 01/14/2014.

David L. Donnan and Elaine L. Winters (of Washington Appellate Project), for appellant.

Shawn P. Sant, Prosecuting Attorney, and Teresa J. Chen, Deputy, for respondent.

Authored by Stephen M. Brown. Concurring: Robert E. Lawrence-Berrey, Kevin M. Korsmo.

OPINION

Page 254

Stephen M. Brown, A.C.J.

[188 Wn.App. 456] [¶1] Joseph Hart appeals his convictions for second degree murder and second degree assault after a stipulated facts trial. He contends (1) his conviction for second degree assault violates double jeopardy, (2) his mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of release under the Persistent Offender Accountability Act (POAA) is cruel and unusual punishment, and (3) the trial court erred in imposing discretionary legal financial obligations (LFOs) without first determining his ability to pay and his mental status. In his statement of additional grounds for review (SAG), Mr. Hart expresses unpersuasive concerns about his competency. Because we hold double jeopardy principles are violated, we vacate Mr. Hart's second degree assault conviction and remand for resentencing. We

Page 255

affirm his POAA life sentence. On remand, the trial court can address Mr. Hart's LFO concerns and correct a conceded scrivener's error not discussed here.

FACTS

[¶2] In March 2012, Mr. Hart, a paranoid schizophrenic who suffers from antisocial personality disorder and [188 Wn.App. 457] substance abuse, lived in a trailer operated by Lourdes Health Network for its patients in Pasco, along with Rodger Lincoln and one other roommate. On March 6, Mr. Hart killed Mr. Lincoln by stabbing Mr. Lincoln over 30 times with a knife. Mr. Hart left the knife buried in Mr. Lincoln's eye socket. Eastern State Hospital doctors determined Mr. Hart knew what he was doing at the time of the murder and was competent to stand trial. After a stipulated facts trial, the court convicted Mr. Hart of second degree murder and second degree assault. Because Mr. Hart had two prior " most serious offense" convictions, including one for attempted first degree robbery at age 20 and one for second degree assault at age 22, the trial court sentenced him under the POAA to life without the possibility of release and imposed $31,354.27 in mandatory and discretionary LFOs. Mr. Hart appealed.

ANALYSIS

A. Double Jeopardy

[¶3] The issue is whether Mr. Hart's double jeopardy rights were violated when he was convicted of second degree murder and second degree assault. Mr. Hart contends (1) the two convictions are the same in law and fact and (2) there was no break in his conduct to justify multiple convictions. Although not raised below, these contentions ...


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