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Maloney v. State

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2

May 2, 2017

BRIAN K. MALONEY, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF WASHINGTON, Respondent.

          LEE, J.

         Brian Keith Maloney appeals the superior court's denial of his motion seeking costs under RCW 4.84.010 after his petition for restoration of firearm rights was granted. We hold that Maloney is not entitled to costs because RCW 4.84.010 applies only to civil proceedings and Maloney's petition for restoration of firearm rights arose from a criminal statute and was an extension of his criminal proceeding. We also hold that Maloney is not the prevailing party on appeal, so he is not entitled to costs on appeal. Accordingly, we affirm.

         FACTS

         In 1980 and 1983, Maloney was convicted of second degree burglary and attempting to elude police, respectively. As a result of his criminal convictions, Maloney was prohibited from owning, possessing, or controlling a firearm.

         On August 27, 2015, Maloney filed a petition to restore his firearm rights under RCW 9.41.040(4). Based on filing procedures required by the superior court for the convenience of docketing, Maloney initiated a civil filing with the State as the defendant, paid a $240 filing fee, and served the petition on the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office. The prosecutor's office appeared on the State's behalf. The case was first assigned to a civil judge but later transferred to the presiding criminal judge.

         The State agreed to the petition after it determined that Maloney was eligible to have his firearm rights restored and prepared an order for the superior court's signature. The superior court signed the prepared order restoring Maloney's firearm rights.

         Maloney then filed a motion for statutory costs and attorney fees under RCW 4.84.010. The State opposed the motion.

         The superior court held a hearing and denied Maloney's motion. The superior court concluded that:

1. The restoration process stated in RCW 9.41.040 arises from the application of a criminal statute, and therefore the RCWs and court rules that award costs to prevailing party in civil cases do not apply.
2. The petitioner is not a "prevailing party, " as contemplated by RCW 4.84.010 because the petition was uncontested.
3. The Court's order restoring petitioner's firearm rights is not a "judgment, " as contemplated by RCW 4.84.010.
4. The Court, in its discretion, does not award costs against the State. The Court finds that it would be unjust to apply RCW 4.84 against the State.
5. The Court adopts all reasoning and rationale contained in the State's ...

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