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State v. Yancey

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 3

May 24, 2018

STATE OF WASHINGTON, Appellant,
v.
JAMES AUSTIN YANCEY, Respondent.

          FEARING, J.

         The State appeals from the sentencing court's grant of James Yancey's request of a residential drug offender alternative sentence (DOSA). We remand for further consideration by the sentencing court of the sentencing alternative.

         FACTS

         James Yancey sold suboxone strips, for which he held a prescription, to a confidential informant. A day later, Yancey repeated his misconduct.

         PROCEDURE

         The State of Washington charged James Yancey with two counts of delivering a controlled substance, each with a sentence enhancement of selling within one thousand feet of a school bus stop. Yancey pled guilty to both counts and the enhancements.

         During the sentencing process, James Yancey sought a residential drug offender sentencing alternative. The State registered its opposition and argued that Yancey lacked eligibility for a residential DOSA due to a high standard range.

         RCW 9.94A.525(1) states that convictions entered or sentenced on the same date as the conviction, for which the sentencing court computes the offender score, shall be deemed "other current offenses" within the meaning of RCW 9.94A.589. Therefore, Yancey accrued an offender score of only one despite pleading guilty to two counts. The standard range for each charge was twelve to twenty months. The school zone enhancement added twenty-four months to the range, raising the total standard range to thirty-six to forty-four months. Under a Washington statute, an offender loses eligibility for a residential DOSA if the midpoint of his standard range exceeds twenty-four months.

         James Yancey argued before the sentencing court that a judge may waive imposition of school zone enhancements if the defendant is otherwise eligible for a sentencing alternative. In a declaration submitted with the brief, defense counsel averred that he had attended court sessions where prosecutors removed enhancements on drug delivery cases involving methamphetamine so that the defendant might qualify for a residential DOS A. The State of Washington responded by arguing that Yancey lacked eligibility for the sentencing alternative because the mid-point of Yancey's standard range exceeded twenty-four months. The trial court granted Yancey's request for the residential DOSA.

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         DOSA Sentence

         The State of Washington appeals James Yancey's residential DOSA sentence. RCW 9.94A.660, a section of the historic Sentencing Reform Act of 1981, chapter 9.94A RCW, allows alternative sentences for drug offenders. State v. Grayson, 154 Wn.2d 333, 337, 111 P.3d 1183 (2005). The statute reads, in part:

(1) An offender is eligible for the special drug offender sentencing alternative if:
(a) The offender is convicted of a felony that is not a violent offense or sex offense and the violation does not involve a sentence enhancement under RCW 9.94A.533(3) or (4);
(b) The offender is convicted of a felony that is not a felony driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug under RCW 46.61.502(6) or felony physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug under RCW 46.61.504(6);
(c) The offender has no current or prior convictions for a sex offense at any time or violent offense within ten years before conviction of the current offense, in this state, another state, or the United States;
(d) For a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act under chapter 69.50 RCW or a criminal solicitation to commit such a violation under chapter 9A.28 RCW, the offense involved only a small quantity of the particular controlled substance as determined by the judge upon consideration of such factors as the weight, purity, packaging, sale price, and street value of the controlled substance;
(e) The offender has not been found by the United States attorney general to be subject to a deportation detainer or order and does not become subject to a deportation ...

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