Ever since the WA Supreme Court decided State v. Blake – which held Unlawful Possession of Controlled Substance charges and convictions unconstitutional – I’m inundated with questions from defendants on what that means. Can other charges filed alongside the drug charge get dismissed? Are Bail Jumping charges dismissible, too?
Fortunately, the WA Court of Appeals decided the issue and answered these questions. In State v. Stacy, the Court of APpeals found that the invalidation of the defendant’s conviction for a Drug Possession charge does not affect the validity of his Bail Jumping convictions.
Here, Mr. Stacy seeks relief from personal restraint imposed following his 2019 plea of guilty to one count of Unlawful Possession of Controlled Substances (UPCS) and two counts of Bail Jumping, committed while charged with UPCS. He argues that under State v. Blake, which held UPCS charges and convictions unconstitutional, he is entitled to have all convictions vacated.
COURT’S ANALYSIS & CONCLUSIONS
The Court of Appeals’ decision is captured in two sentences below:
“The State concedes that under Blake, Stacy is entitled to have his conviction for unlawful possession of controlled substances vacated. But the invalidation of his conviction for unlawful possession of controlled substances does not affect the validity of the bail jumping convictions. State v. Downing, 122 Wn. App. 185, 193, 93 P.2d 900 (2004).” ~WA Court of Appeals
In other words, Mr. Stacy’s Bail Jumping conviction was upheld despite the fact his UPCS – were later found unconstitutional. The Court’s usage of State v. Downing was notable.
In Downing, the WA Court of Appeals upheld the defendant’s Bail Jumping charges even though his underlying Unlawful Issuance of Bank Check charges were dismissed. It reasoned that although no Washington cases addressed whether the charge underlying an allegation of Bail Jumping must be valid, the State is not required to prove that a defendant was detained under a constitutionally valid conviction.
With that, the Court of Appeals in Mr. Stacy’s case dismissed his UPCS convictions and upheld his Bail Jump convictions.
Please read my guide on Making Bail and contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.