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State v. Hecht

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1

January 29, 2018

STATE OF WASHINGTON, Respondent,
v.
MICHAEL ANDREW HECHT, Appellant.

          TRICKEY, A.C.J.

         A jury convicted Michael Hecht of patronizing a prostitute and felony harassment. This court subsequently reversed his convictions. The State declined to retry him.

         Hecht brought a motion under RAP 12.8 for restitution of his court imposed financial obligations, as well as his legal fees, deterioration of emotional and physical health, and unwarranted community service and community supervision. The trial court awarded only a small portion of his requested restitution. Hecht appeals the trial court's denial of the majority of the restitution sought in the motion. We affirm in part, and reverse in part, and remand for an award of the cost of the prostitution class (John School) to Hecht as restitution.

         FACTS

         Hecht was a Washington State superior court judge. In October 2009, a jury convicted him of patronizing a prostitute and felony harassment. The trial court sentenced him to 240 hours of community service and 12 months of community custody. Hecht was required to attend John School, pay legal financial obligations (LFOs), and obtain a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test. As a result of his convictions, he was forced to resign from his judgeship and stipulate to disbarment by the Washington State Bar Association. Hecht fully satisfied his sentence.

         In February 2014, this court reversed Hecht's convictions due to prosecutorial misconduct during closing arguments. The State declined to retry the case and, in June 2014, the trial court signed an order to dismiss the charges without prejudice ex parte.

         In June 2016, Hecht filed a motion under RAP 12.8 requesting $1, 600, 747.25 in restitution from the State. This sum included the LFOs, as well as the cost of John School, blood testing, and community service hours required by the judgment and sentence. He requested recompense for attorney fees for the original case and the motion for restitution. He also sought compensation for lost income, deterioration of his physical and emotional health, future expenses to restore his law license, and time spent under unwarranted community supervision.

         Judge James Cayce was the trial judge. At the hearing on his restitution motion, Hecht filed an affidavit of prejudice and made a motion for recusal of Judge Cayce.

         Hecht alleged that Judge Cayce was prejudiced in his ability to hear the restitution motion because "Judge Cayce clearly has made up his own mind about myself and was rude and insensitive to my family."[1] Hecht had also filed a complaint to the Judicial Qualifications Commission because Judge Cayce entered the ex parte order of dismissal without prejudice. The trial court denied both the affidavit of prejudice and the motion for recusal.

         The trial court ordered restitution of $2, 050.00 for the money Hecht had paid for the LFOs and the court ordered blood draw. The trial court denied Hecht's other requested restitution. The court determined that Hecht benefitted from John School and would be unjustly enriched by restitution of the $750 tuition. The trial court concluded that it did not have discretion to award Hecht's other requested financial compensation.

         Hecht appeals.

         ANALYSIS

         Appealability

         The State argues that Hecht cannot appeal this case because his claim lacks finality. According to the State, this postdismissal order on restitution is not a final judgment because it does not settle the issues in the case. The State further contends that the only final judgment in a criminal case concerns the guilt or innocence of the defendant, which the present order does not address. The State also argues that Hecht's criminal judgment "disappeared" after his case was dismissed.[2] We disagree with the ...


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