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Washington Trial Courts May Sanction Community Custody Violations

By Mark Wilson

The Washington State Court Appeals held that the legislature did not remove the trial courts’ jurisdiction to punish community custody violations when it granted the Department of Corrections (DOC) to also punish those violations.

Karen Gamble was sentenced to 61 days in jail and 24 months of community custody for violating a domestic violence no-contact order. She violated conditions of community custody imposed by the trial court and the court “imposed 120 days of confinement as well as additional sentence conditions.” The court later reduced the sanction to 60 days.

Gamble appealed, arguing that when the legislature granted DOC the authority to sanction certain community custody condition violations, it necessarily stripped the superior court of authority to do so. The Court of Appeals disagreed, concluding that “the legislature did not, by authorizing DOC to punish community custody violations, divest the superior court of their subject matter jurisdiction to do so. On the contrary, it expressly provided otherwise. There was no error.”

See: Washington v. Gamble, 146 Wash.App. 813, 192 P.3d 399 (Wash.App. Div. 2, 2008).

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Related legal case

Washington v. Gamble