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Washington: Violation of Community Custody Conditions May Be Enforced While Offender Is Reincarcerated

Washington: Violation of Community Custody Conditions May Be Enforced While Offender Is Reincarcerated

The Washington State Supreme Court held that a prisoner who had been released on “community custody,” but who violated his terms of release and was reincarcerated pending new criminal charges, could not have his pre-trial jail time count against his community custody term. Moreover, being incarcerated did not immunize the prisoner from sanctions for having violated conditions of his community custody release.

Amel W. Dalluge, 17, was prosecuted on two third-degree rape charges. Following his release from prison he was placed by the Washington Department of Corrections (WDOC) on one year’s community custody, which included various restrictive conditions.

Dalluge was later arrested and jailed for being involved in an altercation while on community release. Additionally, the WDOC infracted him for violating his terms of community custody and imposed an extra 60 days confinement. Dalluge filed a personal restraint petition (PRP) alleging that WDOC had lost its authority to infract him when he was re-arrested, and therefore could not punish him administratively.

The state Supreme Court accepted Dalluge’s PRP under the lenient standard of a complaint alleging unlawful restraint. However, it declined to find that WDOC’s power to enforce community custody terms was somehow “suspended” while an offender was otherwise incarcerated. To do so would endorse the absurd result of permitting an offender to evade WDOC’s oversight and conditions of community custody (such as a no-contact order) while incarcerated due to a new criminal offense.

Lastly, Dalluge’s equal protection argument and his claim that his notice of violation did not cite a particular WDOC policy fizzled upon his failure to support those assertions. The Court held that WDOC had the statutory authority to infract and sanction Dalluge, and dismissed his PRP accordingly. See: In re Pers. Restraint of Dalluge, 162 Wn.2d 814 (Wash. 2008), review denied.

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Related legal case

n re Pers. Restraint of Dalluge