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What's Up in the 8th

I've always depended upon the kindness of strangers, and they come through in State v. Woodland.  Woodland pleads to murder, and in apparent recognition of the fact that I've got to read all this stuff, appellate counsel's only assignment of error is that the judge imposed costs in the journal entry while he waived them at the sentencing, the State concedes the error, and the panel disposes of the case in a breezy one-page opinion.  My thanks to all.

Of course, it's not all about me.  In State v. Ali, it's about Ali's latest pro se attempt to get out from under his 2005 conviction and life sentence for conviction of 7 counts of raping a person under 13.  He raises the argument that the journal entry is deficient because the judge didn't include the sex offender classification and registration requirements.  The 8th, and other courts, have considered that issue before, and all have held that the inclusion wasn't required because the classification was under Megan's law, and Megan's Law was a civil remedy.

What about a classification under the Adam Walsh Act?  That's punitive, so the journal entry would presumably have to include the classification, since that's now punishment.

So, if a journal entry for an AWA offense fails to include the classification and notification of the registration requirements, does that make it "void"?  Arguably so, but it's likely to be treated the same as failure to notify about post-release controls:  only that portion of the entry is void, and the case can be remanded for resentencing solely to make the classification and notification.

But that contains its own problems.  Some of the smarter inmates have realized that it's to their benefit to wait until they're done serving their prison sentence before complaining about a PRC error; at that point, it's too late for a court to impose PRC.  Serving the prison sentence obviously wouldn't foreclose the ability to later impose the sex offender classification, but what happens in the meantime?  Let's say the judge didn't impose the classification, the defender is released from prison, then fails to register or notify of change of address or commit some other registration offense.  Back in State v. Billiter, the Supreme Court held that failure to notify of PRC voided a subsequent charge of escape for failing to show up for meetings with the parole officer.  Can the same argument be used as a defense to a registration offense?

State v. Moore represents the closing chapter in the Great IHOP Escapade.  Back in 2013, Moore and three of her friends, including Nadia Williams, went to the IHOP at about 2:00 AM - what, there wasn't a Denny's nearby? - and got into a tussle in the ladies room.  The fight continued into the main dining room, and they were asked to leave by the security guard.  As he was escorting them out of the restaurant, Moore turned and shouted profanities at him, and he gave her a slight push to get her out the door.  All hell broke loose:  the surveillance video, which captured the entire scene, shows the four women attacking the guard outside the restaurant, even pushing him back outside when he tried to reenter the diner.  The upshot was that the guard was on the ground trying to restrain Moore, when Nadia jumped on his back.  He rolled over, his gun accidentally discharging and killing Nadia.

The big issue on the appeal from Moore's conviction of involuntary manslaughter in the commission of misdemeanor is sufficiency, in the form of an argument on proximate cause.  To a certain extent, the case sounds like a bar exam question, resonant of Palsgraf v. Long Island RR.  The panel spends little time finding the shooting foreseeable and less explaining why, but then again, it really doesn't have to:  several witnesses testified that they heard the women yell, "get his gun."  The Long Island Railroad could claim that the train attendant had no idea the package the passenger was carrying contained explosives, but once everyone knows a gun is in play, it's hard to claim that somebody getting shot with it isn't foreseeable.

It's also hard to understand why you'd argue on appeal that the trial court erred in merging rape and kidnapping convictions.  That's what happens in State v. Woods, and the panel finds it "highly unusual that the defendant would challenge a merger, as opposed to the non-merger of offenses."  Color me perplexed, too.  At least it was a short opinion...


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