In re Personal Restraint Petition of: MARVIS J. KNIGHT, Petitioner
J. Knight asserts in his personal restraint petition (PRP)
that his conviction for the nonexistent crime of attempted
manslaughter in the first degree (attempted manslaughter)
constitutes constitutional error resulting in actual and
substantial prejudice. He seeks to withdraw his guilty plea
and to vacate that conviction. We grant the petition and
remand to vacate the conviction for attempted manslaughter.
Attempted Manslaughter Conviction
1995, Knight fired shots at another man after the two flashed
rival gang signs at each other. The Thurston County
Prosecutor's Office charged Knight with one count of
assault in the first degree.
negotiations with Knight's lawyer, the State filed an
amended information for one count of "attempted
manslaughter in the first degree," under RCW 9A.28.020
and RCW 9A.32.060. Clerk's Papers (CP) at 4. This charge
reduced the standard range from 93-123 months to 23.25-30.75
months. The amended information alleged that Knight
"took a substantial step toward recklessly causing the
death of another person." CP at 4.
entered an Alford plea to the count of attempted
manslaughter. At the time, Knight was seventeen years old and
had a ninth grade education. Knight stipulated to an
exceptional sentence of 38 months. The court accepted the
guilty plea, followed the plea agreement, and sentenced
Knight to 38 months.
Assault and Felony Harassment Convictions
March 2000, a jury convicted Knight of two counts of assault
in the second degree and two counts of felony harassment. The
trial court sentenced Knight as a persistent
offender to total confinement for life without the
possibility of early release on each of the assault
court based its persistent offender determination on
Knight's 1995 conviction for attempted manslaughter and a
1997 conviction for robbery in the second degree.
Motion to Withdraw Plea and PRP
December 2003, Knight filed a motion to withdraw his guilty
plea to attempted manslaughter. The Thurston County Superior
Court denied the motion as time barred. Knight did not appeal
2016, Knight filed a motion to vacate the attempted
manslaughter conviction, arguing it was facially invalid. The
Thurston County Superior Court transferred the motion to this
court as a PRP. We ...