Facts: Petitioner Daniel Posey was charged with second degree rape and first degree assault. Although Posey was a juvenile at the time, the case was transferred from juvenile court to the Superior Court for Yakima County because Washington Revised Code §13.04.030(37)(a)(v) classifies first degree assault as a “serious violent offense.” Posey was ultimately convicted of second degree rape but acquitted of first degree assault. Posey was subsequently sentenced under the adult sentencing guidelines to life in prison. Posey appealed his sentence on grounds that the superior court lacked the authority to sentence him under the adult sentencing guidelines insofar as he had been acquitted of the charge upon which its jurisdiction had been based. The Supreme Court of Washington agreed and remanded the case to the juvenile court for resentencing. However, as Posey had in the interim reached the age of 21, the juvenile court no longer had jurisdiction over him and he was instead sentenced by the superior court to a standard juvenile range sentence of 60 to 80 weeks in prison. Posey appealed his sentence, asserting that by virtue of his age and the juvenile court’s assumption of jurisdiction neither the juvenile court nor the superior court have jurisdiction to sentence him. The Washington Court of Appeals affirmed Posey’s sentence. Posey appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Washington.
Question(s): Do superior courts retain residual jurisdiction over juvenile cases when the defendant is no longer subject to the procedures regarding juvenile adjudication?
Conclusion: Justice James M. Johnson’s opinion for the Court affirmed the Washington Court of Appeals, concluding that under Article IV §6 of the Washington State Constitution’s grant of jurisdiction over all felony criminal cases to superior courts, the superior court had residual jurisdiction to sentence Posey after he was no longer subject to the procedures regarding juvenile adjudication. In particular, the Court held that juvenile courts are functionally divisions of superior courts rather than separate courts and that the superior court therefore properly assumed jurisdiction after the juvenile court no longer had statutory authority to act.
Petitioner: Daniel Posey
(Counsel: Stephanie C. Cunningham)
Respondent: State of Washington
(Counsel: Kenneth L. Ramm, Jr.)
Argument: Thursday, January 20, 2011 9:00am
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
Prevailing Party: State of Washington (Respondent)
Court: Madsen2 Court (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.