Facts: Respondent Frank Mendoza was convicted of robbery and unlawful imprisonment in the Superior Court for Grays Harbor County and was sentenced on the basis of a statement prepared by the prosecution that summarized Mendoza’s previous criminal record, calculated his offender score, and stipulated the appropriate sentencing range and recommendation that followed from this score. Mendoza subsequently appealed his sentence, asserting that although he had raised no objection to the statement, he had not directly acknowledged the prior convictions listed on the statement and no evidence had been presented to verify their existence. The Washington Court of Appeals vacated Mendoza’s sentence and remanded the case, holding that the trial court must be provided with documentation that would allow it to find on the basis of a preponderance of the evidence that Mendoza’s criminal record had been accurately reported on the statement. The state of Washington appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Washington.
Question(s): Did Mendoza’s failure to object to the state’s characterization of his criminal record constitute an affirmative acknowledgement or was the state required to produce documentary evidence of his prior convictions?
Conclusion: Justice Stephens’ opinion for the Court concluded that Mendoza’s failure to object to the state’s statement was insufficient to establish his criminal record in light of the state’s subsequent efforts to amend former Washington Revised Code §9.94A.500(1) and 9.94A.530(2), which the Court held require that the state to present evidence on the basis of which the trial court could find by a preponderance of the evidence that the state’s characterization of a defendant’s criminal record is accurate. As Mendoza had offered no objection to the state’s statement of his criminal history, the Court ruled that on remand the state would have the opportunity to present evidence establishing his criminal record.
Petitioner: State of Washington
(Counsel: H. Steward Menefee and Gerald R. Fuller)
Respondent: Frank Mendoza
(Counsel: Eric J. Nielsen, Manek R. Mistry, and Jodi R. Backlund)
- Appellant Brief
- Appellant Henderson Brief
- Petition for Review
- Petition for Review of Henderson
- Reply Henderson
- Respondent Brief
- Respondent Brief in Henderson
- Respondent's Supplemental Brief
- Statement of Additional Authority
- Statement of Additional Authority in Henderson
- Supplemental Brief of Petitioner Henderson
- Supplemental Brief of Respondent
Argument: Thursday, September 18, 2008 10:00am
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, April 16th, 2009
Prevailing Party: Frank Mendoza (Respondent)
Opinion: 165 Wn.2d 913 (2009)
Court: Alexander4 Court (2008-2009)
Note: We post only slip opinion(s) as published at the time of the decision. Please consult Washington Reports printed volumes for the opinion(s) in their final form.