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Washington State DNA Collection Fee Affirmed on Appeal

On October 15, 2008, Brandy Brewster of Washington State was convicted by a jury for possession of cocaine, for which she was arrested almost two years previously on November 15, 2006. At her sentencing on December 8, 2008, Ms. Brewster was ordered to pay $100 for a DNA collection fee as specified by state law. Brewster appealed this decision arguing that when she committed her offense the applicable law, RCW 43.43.754, was discretionary and should not pertain to her because of the "undue hardship" it would place on her. Her argument was rejected on appeal, with the court finding that since the collection fee is not punitive in nature, the law in force at the time of her sentencing, an amended version of the previous law from which the discretion was removed, applied.

Brewster also sought a new trial for alleged jury misconduct, which she failed to prove. The appellate court did, however, determine the trial court erred by ordering Brewster to submit to alcohol evaluation and treatment. Such a requirement may only be applied when evidence shows alcohol contributed to the criminal conduct at issue, which was not the case in this instance. Therefore, on October 26, 2009, the court remanded the issue with instructions to strike that portion of Brewster's judgment and sentence.

See: Brewster v. Wash., WA. App. Ct., Div. I, #62764-3-I.

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Related legal case

Brewster v. Washington