1997, McClinton was convicted of first degree rape while
armed with a deadly weapon, attempted first degree rape, and
first degree burglary. In November 2017, the trial court
issued a bench warrant for McClinton based on his alleged
violations of community custody conditions. Before the
hearing on his alleged violations, he moved to transfer his
case to the Department of Corrections. The trial court denied
his motion, found him in violation of three community custody
conditions, and ordered him to serve 30 days of confinement.
McClinton argues that he was denied equal protection because
he did not receive the same procedural benefits as offenders
who committed their underlying crime after July 1, 2000. We
1997, Sallyea McClinton was convicted of first degree rape
while armed with a deadly weapon, attempted first degree
rape, and first degree burglary. The trial court sentenced
him to a total of 202 months of confinement. It also
sentenced him to community placement for two years or up to
the period of earned release, whichever was longer.
2013, McClinton was released from prison and began a term of
community custody. State v. McClinton, No.
76001-7-I, slip. op. at 1 (Wash.Ct.App. Mar. 5, 2018)
Since that time, he has repeatedly violated his community
custody conditions. Most recently, in November 2017, the
trial court issued a bench warrant for McClinton based on
three alleged violations. He was arrested on January 1, 2018.
his arrest, McClinton filed a motion to transfer the hearing
on his alleged violations to the Department of Corrections
(DOC), or, alternatively, to "limit the court's
authority to the same authority as granted to the [DOC] to
conduct hearings and impose sanctions pursuant to RCW
9.94A.737." He argued that equal protection requires
that he "be provided the same procedural protections and
sanctions regime as applied to offenders whose crimes were
committed after July 1, 2000."
January 24, 2018, the trial court held a hearing on
McClinton's alleged violations. The court denied his
motion to transfer the hearing, found him in violation of 3
community custody conditions, and ordered him to serve 30
days of confinement. McClinton appeals.
argues that he was denied equal protection because he was not
afforded the same procedural benefits as offenders who
committed their underlying crime on or after July 1, 2000. He
asserts that those offenders are sanctioned through the DOC
process, are entitled to a hearing within 5 days of being
held in confinement, and cannot be sentenced to more than 30
days of confinement per hearing. In contrast, he points out
that the court has sanction authority over offenders who
committed their underlying crime before July 1, 2000. He
contends that, if the court has sanction authority,
"there is no set time within which [an offender] has a
right to a hearing," and an offender "could be
subject up to 60 days in jail for each violation."
State argues that this court should decline to review
McClinton's equal protection claim because it is moot.
McClinton concedes that his claim is moot, but asks this
court to reach the merits "because the case involves an
issue of substantial public interest that is likely to
is moot when we can no longer provide an appellant effective
relief. In re Det. of LaBelle, 107 Wn.2d 196, 200,
728 P.2d 138 (1986). This case is technically moot, because
McClinton's confinement has ended. In re Det. of
Swanson, 115 Wn.2d 21, 24, 804 P.2d 1 (1990). As a
general rule, an appellate court will not review a moot case.
In re Det. of H.N., 188 Wn.App. 744, 749, 355 P.3d
294 (2015). But, an appellate court may decide a moot case if
it involves an issue of substantial public interest.
State v. Hunley, 175 Wn.2d 901, 907, 287 P.3d 584
(2012). In deciding to review a moot issue, this court must
consider (1) the public or private nature of the issue, (2)
the desirability of an authoritative determination that will
provide future guidance to public officers, and (3) the
likelihood that the issue will recur. Id.
constitutionality of statutes relating to criminal sentencing
presents an issue of public interest. See
id. at 908. And, while this court can no longer
provide McClinton effective relief, the issue will likely
recur with other offenders who committed their underlying
crime before July 1, 2000 and violate their sentence
conditions. Public officers would therefore benefit from an
authoritative determination on the question. Thus, we reach
the merits of this case.