Bacon, a juvenile, pleaded guilty to second degree robbery
and received a suspended disposition. The State challenged
the juvenile court's authority to enter such a
disposition, arguing that the Juvenile Justice Act of 1977
(JJA), chapter 13.40 RCW, does not give trial courts the
statutory authority to suspend juvenile dispositions (except
in specific situations that are absent here). The Court of
Appeals agreed, and so do we. We therefore affirm and hold
that juvenile court judges lack statutory authority to
suspend JJA dispositions, even manifest injustice JJA
dispositions, unless the disposition fits under one of the
specifically listed exemptions in RCW 13.40.160(10).
pleaded guilty to robbery in the second degree after stealing
a purse. Based on his criminal history, the standard range
disposition for this crime was 52-65 weeks. RCW 13.40.0357.
The State and the juvenile probation officer both recommended
a disposition within that standard range.
in contrast, requested a "manifest injustice"
disposition below that range; he sought a sentence of 30 days
plus 12 months of community supervision with standard
probation conditions and "all conditions deemed
appropriate by the court." Clerk's Papers (CP) at
10. Bacon argued that a manifest injustice finding was
appropriate because (1) Bacon did not contemplate that his
conduct would cause or threaten serious bodily injury, RCW
13.40.150(3)(h)(i), and (2) Bacon made significant growth in
the months before the robbery. Specifically, Bacon stated
that he had been working to incorporate the skills he learned
at a Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) facility.
Both Bacon and his mother reported that he had been doing
better since his release. Additionally, Bacon had services
already in place within the community-Sea Mar Community
Health Centers counseling, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and
TeamChild. Bacon noted that the Bellevue School District had
recently completed a comprehensive evaluation of his needs
and that he had been placed at Bellevue High School to
address his academic, emotional, and behavioral concerns.
Bacon concluded that "if he is sent right back to JRA
again, there is a real risk that [he] will become
institutionalized." CP at 14.
juvenile court agreed with Bacon in part. On October 14,
2015, that court imposed a 65 week disposition, but suspended
it all for a period of 12 months. CP at 22-23. The court
acknowledged that this disposition fell outside the standard
range and entered a "manifest injustice" finding
under RCW 13.40.150(3)(h)(i) to support its imposition.
Specifically, the court found that Bacon did not cause or
contemplate that his actions would cause serious bodily
injury and that he needed "[m]ental health treatment and
qualifie[d] for a suspended disposition pursuant to RCW
30.40.167." CP at 23.
State moved for reconsideration of the manifest injustice
disposition on the ground that the facts did not support the
manifest injustice finding. In addition, the State opposed
the decision to suspend Bacon's disposition, arguing:
There is no statutory authorization for the Court to suspend
a JRA commitment where Option B, SSODA [special sex offender
disposition alternative], MHDA [mental health disposition
alternative], and C[D]DA [chemical dependency disposition
alternative] are unavailable under RCW 13.40.0357, 13.40.162,
13.40.167, and 13.40.165. Option D ("Manifest
Injustice") allows the Court to impose a
disposition outside the standard range, but does not
authorize a court to suspend one. To conclude
otherwise would be to render the sections regarding Option B,
SSODA, MHDA, and C[D]DA-and their respective eligibility
restrictions-superfluous and, essentially, meaningless.
CP at 58 (State's Proposed Conclusions of Law 10). The
juvenile court declined to reconsider its October 14
April 29, 2016, after Bacon failed to meet the conditions of
his suspended disposition, the court revoked it. The court
noted that this was a manifest injustice disposition and
therefore reconsidered the initial 65 week sentence and
instead ordered 40 weeks of commitment to a JRA facility.
the court revoked Bacon's suspended disposition, the
State's appeal became moot. However, both parties and the
Court of Appeals commissioner "agree[d] that the issue
[of whether a juvenile court can impose a suspended sentence
under the manifest injustice portion of the JJA] is recurring
and that an appellate decision by a panel of judges is
warranted." The State did not pursue its argument that
the court's findings failed to support a manifest
injustice finding. Both parties submitted new briefings
regarding the juvenile court's authority to suspend a
standard range disposition.
One reversed. It adhered to its prior decision in State
v. A.S., 116 Wn.App. 309, 65 P.3d 676 (2003) (per
curiam), which held that juvenile courts lack inherent
authority to suspend dispositions and can do so only when the
legislature grants such authority. It therefore held that the
JJA did not authorize suspended dispositions for juveniles
convicted of robbery in the second degree, even with a
finding of manifest injustice. State v. Bacon, 197
Wn.App. 772, 391 P.3d 556, review granted, 189 Wn.2d
1008, 403 P.3d 39 (2017).
moved for reconsideration based on this court's decision
in State v. Houston-Sconiers, 188 Wn.2d 1, 391
P.3d409 (2017). The Court of Appeals denied that motion. This
court granted review, in part to resolve the conflict between
Division One's decision in this case and Division
Three's decision to the contrary in State v.
Crabtree, 116 Wn.App. 536, 66 P.3d 695
oral arguments in this court, both parties acknowledged that
the JJA did not give the juvenile court the statutory
authority to suspend Bacon's disposition, even with the
manifest injustice finding. As discussed below, we
agree. We also reject the argument that the trial
court possesses inherent ...