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State v. Taylor

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 3

July 17, 2018

STATE OF WASHINGTON, Respondent,
v.
BRENDAN REIDY TAYLOR, Appellant.

          OPINION

          Lawrence-Berrey, C.J.

         Old Chief v. United States, 519 U.S. 172, 191-92, 117 S.Ct. 644, 136 L.Ed.2d 574 (1997) holds that where the existence of a prior conviction is an element of an offense, the trial court must accept the accused's offer to stipulate to the prior conviction. This appeal requires us to determine whether this rule extends to an accused's offer to stipulate to a postconviction no-contact order. We hold that it does. We, therefore, reverse Brendan Taylor's conviction for felony violation of a no-contact order and remand for retrial.

         FACTS

         A no-contact order prohibited Brendan Taylor from being within 1, 000 feet of Anna Kelly. But they decided to live together nevertheless.

         On Christmas Day of 2016, their landlord drove past their residence and saw Kelly using a snow shovel "like a hatchet" against the windshield of Taylor's car. Report of Proceedings (RP) at 140. The landlord called 911.

         When the police arrived, Taylor was gone. Kelly claimed that Taylor had assaulted her. At the time, Taylor was under supervision by the Department of Corrections for a prior offense.

         The State charged Taylor with several crimes, including the two crimes that are at issue on appeal: felony violation of a no-contact order and escape from community custody.[1]

         PROCEDURE

         The day prior to trial, Taylor chose to plead guilty to some of the charges, including escape from community custody. At the plea hearing, he presented a written statement that provided the factual basis for his plea. The statement reads in part:

On or about December 27, 2017 [sic[2], I did willfully discontinue making myself available to the Department of Corrections for supervision, by making my whereabouts unknown or by failing to maintain contact with the Department as directed by the Community Corrections Office.

         Clerk's Papers (CP) at 19. Taylor signed the statement, attesting to its accuracy. When asked by the trial court if the statement was true, Taylor responded,

I was out of gas in Oregon. But it's-Yeah, it's basically true. . . . I was making my way to get back up here . . . .
. . . . . . .
I was on the phone with [my community corrections officer] and then he had left a message that I wasn't going to be able to make an appointment, but it's still-it's still the same as-as missing out on-on that.

RP at 7-8.

         On the morning of trial, Taylor asked that the no-contact order be excluded in light of his stipulation that he knew of its existence. The State responded that it planned on admitting two no-contact orders. The following discussion occurred:

THE COURT: . . . [S]ometimes . . . we'll have a case where there's a charge of felon in possession of a firearm, -
. . . .
THE COURT: One of the things the state would have to prove is the underlying felony conviction. Often-times the defense will stipulate to that in an effort to avoid the prejudice of having the specific named felony brought into the mix. And I think that's ...

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