WSR 09-01-030

RULES OF COURT

STATE SUPREME COURT


[ December 5, 2008 ]

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF THE AMENDMENT TO CrRLJ 7.3-JUDGMENT )

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ORDER

NO. 25700-A-911

The District and Municipal Court Judges' Association having recommended the adoption of the proposed amendment to CrRLJ 7.3-Judgment, and the Court having approved the proposed amendment for publication;

Now, therefore, it is hereby

ORDERED:

(a) That pursuant to the provisions of GR 9(g), the proposed amendment as attached hereto is to be published for comment in the Washington Reports, Washington Register, Washington State Bar Association and Administrative Office of the Court's web sites in January, 2009.

(b) The purpose statement as required by GR 9(e), is published solely for the information of the Bench, Bar and other interested parties.

(c) Comments are to be submitted to the Clerk of the Supreme Court by either U.S. Mail or Internet E-Mail by no later than April 30, 2009. Comments may be sent to the following addresses: P.O. Box 40929, Olympia, Washington 98504-0929, or Camilla.Faulk@courts.wa.gov. Comments submitted by e-mail message must be limited to 1500 words.

DATED at Olympia, Washington this 5th day of December, 2008.
For the Court
Gerry L. Alexander
CHIEF JUSTICE


GR 9 Cover Sheet


Suggested Changes to CrRLJ 7.3 (JUDGMENT)



Purpose: CrRLJ 7.3 specifies the minimum elements which the court must include in a judgment and record of the sentencing proceedings in a court of limited jurisdiction. This suggested change to CrRLJ 7.3 adds two additional elements to the judgment and record of sentencing proceedings:

1) The specific statute or ordinance, including any subsection, for which the defendant is sentenced (CrRLJ 7.3(c)), and

2) Identify if the charge is a domestic violence-related offense (CrRLJ 7.3(d)).

A letter from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Section, which was sent to court officials in Washington State, has prompted the amendments suggested for CrRLJ 7.3. The NICS is a computerized system designed to conduct a search of available records to immediately determine if a person is eligible to receive or possess firearms. Before transferring a firearm to a non-licensed individual, a federal firearms licensee must contact the NICS Section for a background check. The NICS Section has three business days to conduct the background check and determine whether a firearms transfer is prohibited. If the NICS Section has not been able to make a definitive determination within that time frame, the federal firearms licensee may lawfully transfer the firearm.

Among other federal prohibitions, persons convicted in any court of a qualifying Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence (MCDV) are prohibited from possessing a firearm. The letter from the FBI, dated September 26, 2007, stated that previously the NICS Section and state counterparts used police reports to establish whether a qualifying Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence (MCDV) had been committed. However, only certain misdemeanor offenses fall within the federal definition of a MCDV, and the NICS Section is now required to request the actual record of conviction, not just the police reports, to determine if the prospective firearm transferee has been convicted of a crime which will bar him or her from taking possession of a firearm. If the record of conviction is not explicit, the NICS Section will need to make its determination from court transcripts or other court documentation.

This information from the FBI prompted the Supreme Court Pattern Forms Committee to review the non-electronic pattern judgment and sentence form to determine if Washington's court records of conviction provide sufficient information to assist state and federal authorities with firearm background checks. Pursuant to CrRLJ 7.2 (e)(2), a non-electronic judgment and sentence form is prescribed by the Administrator for the Courts in conjunction with the Supreme Court Pattern Forms Committee. Pursuant to CrRLJ 7.2 (e)(1), an electronic judgment and sentence is prescribed by the Administrator for the Courts in conjunction with the Judicial Information System Committee (JISC). CrRLJ 7.3 sets forth the minimum elements of information which must be included in both the non-electronic pattern judgment and sentence form and the electronic judgment and sentence form.

After reviewing the non-electronic pattern judgment and sentence form, the Pattern Forms Committee amended the form to include the specific statute or local ordinance, including the subsection, to which defendant pled or was found guilty. Also added was a place to identify a crime as a domestic violence-related offense under state law, when appropriate. However, modifying the non-electronic pattern judgment and sentence form does not affect the contents of the electronic judgment and sentence form.

The electronic judgment and sentence record consists of the elements set forth in CrRLJ 7.3. Amending CrRLJ 7.3, as suggested in this rule change, will result in the electronic judgment and sentence including the same two additional elements which have already been added to the non-electronic pattern judgment and sentence form. In addition, if CrRLJ 7.3 is amended by the Supreme Court, then those courts of limited jurisdiction which have developed their own non-electronic judgment and sentence form instead of using the form developed by the Pattern Forms Committee will be required to update their judgment and sentence form to include the two new required elements.

The suggested rule change will assist the persons who do the state and federal firearm background checks in determining if the crime is a "Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence." The suggested rule change will also improve consistency among the courts of limited jurisdiction that choose not to use the pattern judgment and sentence form by requiring that all of those courts include the same minimum elements in the forms they develop as are included by the courts using the pattern form. Finally, the parties will have a better understanding of the conviction and a better record of what happened in the courtroom if these two additional elements are included in the judgment and sentence.

A final reason to amend the rule to add this information is that RCW 10.99.040 (1)(d) requires all judges to identify domestic violence (DV)-related offenses on docket sheets. The Legislature's directive to judges to assist in identification of DV-related offenses can be fulfilled by making sure the sentencing documents contain this information.



CRIMINAL RULES FOR COURTS OF LIMITED JURISDICTION (CrRLJ)


RULE 7.3 JUDGMENT



A judgment of conviction shall set forth whether the defendant was represented by a lawyer or waived representation by a lawyer, the plea, the verdict or findings, and the adjudication and sentence. The court may order that its sentence include special conditions or requirements, including a specified schedule for the payment of a fine, restitution, or other costs, or the performance of community service. If the defendant is found not guilty or for any other reason is entitled to be discharged, judgment shall be entered accordingly. The judge or clerk shall enter the judgment on the record. The judgment and record of the sentencing proceedings of the courts of limited jurisdiction shall be preserved in perpetuity, either in an electronic or hard copy format. "Hard copy format" may include microfilm, microfiche, or a paper copy. At a minimum, the judgment and record of the sentencing proceedings shall include:

(a) Defendant's name;

(b) Defendant's ID numbers;

(c) The charge, as well as any amendments to the original charge((;)), and citation to the statute or ordinance, including subsections, for which the defendant was sentenced;

(d) Identification of any charge defined under law as a domestic violence offense;

(d) (e) Arraignment date;

(e) (f) The plea, and the date entered;

(f) (g) Representation by or waiver of lawyer, as well as date of lawyer's appearance or waiver;

(g) (h) The parties present, including but not limited to the judge, attorneys, prosecutor, defense counsel, witnesses;

(h) (i) Verdict or findings, and the date entered;

(i) (j) Adjudication and sentence, and the date entered;

(j) (k) Conditions or requirements of the sentence, including but not limited to a specified schedule for the payment of a fine, restitution, or other costs, performance of community service, counseling or treatment;

(k) (l) The outcomes of any hearings held on the case, including but not limited to noncompliance hearings, reviews.

The judgment and record of the sentencing proceedings shall be prima facie evidence of a valid conviction in subsequent proceedings in courts of limited jurisdiction and in superior court.

Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above material occurred in the copy filed by the State Supreme Court and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office