Facts: Petitioner Raymond Hughes was charged and convicted on a guilty plea for second degree rape of a child and second degree rape of a victim unable to consent by reason of physical helplessness or mental incapacity. Both charges were based on an act of sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. The Superior Court for Spokane County imposed a standard range minimum term of confinement and a maximum sentence of life in prison, ruling it did not have the statutory authority to impanel a jury to find aggravating factors that would support an exceptional minimum term of confinement. Hughes appealed on double jeopardy grounds, arguing that only once conviction should result from one act of sexual intercourse, and the State cross-appealed the trial court’s denial of the State’s request for an exceptional minimum sentence. The Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions and held that the trial court had the authority to impose an exceptional minimum term of confinement and that Hughes was not placed in double jeopardy by the convictions of the two crimes. The Supreme Court of Washington granted Hughes’ petition for review.
Question(s): Did Hughes’ convictions for rape of a child in the second degree and rape in the second degree due to nonconsent by reason of mental incapacity or physical helplessness which arise out of the same act violate double jeopardy?
Does the trial court have the authority to impose an indeterminate exceptional minimum sentence under certain sections of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1981 (SRA), Chap. 9.44A RCW?
Conclusion: Justice Charles W. Johnson’s opinion for the Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals in part holding that, for the purposes of double jeopardy, the two offenses were the same in fact and law because they arose out of one act of sexual intercourse with the same victim. Both RCW §9A.44.076 and §9.44A.050(1)(b) required proof of nonconsent because of the victim’s status and protected individuals who were unable to consent by reason of their status. Since the legislature did not intend one act of sexual intercourse to violate both the rape and statutory rape provisions of the code, Hughes’ convictions for rape and rape of a child violated double jeopardy. The Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals in part as to the finding that the trial court had the authority to consider the State’s request for an exceptional minimum indeterminate sentence. The case was remanded for vacation of one of the convictions.
Petitioner: Raymond Hughes
(Counsel: David N. Gasch)
Respondent: State of Washington
(Counsel: Steven J. Tucker and Mark E. Lindsey)
Argument: Thursday, May 7, 2009 9:00am
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
Opinion: 166 Wn.2d 675 (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. Each opinion should appear next to the Justice who authored it.