Facts: Petitioner Chucco Robinson pled guilty to first degree burglary and third degree rape after negotiating a plea agreement with prosecutors. When it was subsequently revealed that Robinson’s offender score had been improperly calculated insofar as juvenile convictions that Robinson had not revealed had not been included in the calculation, Robinson moved to withdraw his plea. The trial court granted the motion, ruling that Robinson’s plea had not been voluntary, knowing, and intelligent given that it was based upon a mistaken belief as to the law that the juvenile convictions had “washed out.” The state of Washington appealed the trial court’s ruling and the Washington Court of Appeals reversed, holding that regardless of his beliefs as to the law, Robinson assumed the risk of failing to disclose all of his prior convictions. Robinson appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Washington.
Question(s): Did the trial court abuse its discretion in granting Robinson’s motion to withdraw his plea on grounds of legal mistake?
Conclusion: Justice Chambers’ opinion for the Court reversed the Washington Court of Appeals, concluding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting Robinson’s motion to withdraw his plea as Robinson reasonably believed that his juvenile convictions had “washed out.” In particular, as Robinson’s juvenile convictions had not been included in the calculation of his offender score when he was sentenced in 1994 for a murder conviction (prior to changes in the law regarding the scoring of juvenile criminal history), there was no reason for him to believe that they would be included in the calculation of his offender score in sentencing him in 2008.
Docket No. 83444-0 (from Court of Appeals Division III Case No. 27120-0)
Petitioner: Chucco Robinson
(Counsel: Tracy Scott Collins)
Respondent: State of Washington
(Counsel: Mark Erik Lindsey)
Decided: Thursday, October 6th, 2011
Prevailing Party: Chucco Robinson (Petitioner)
Court: Madsen1 Court (2010-2011)
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.