State v. Armendariz, No. 78452-3.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Writing for the CourtJ. Johnson
Citation160 Wn.2d 106,156 P.3d 201
PartiesSTATE of Washington, Respondent, v. Ismael ARMENDARIZ, Petitioner.
Decision Date19 April 2007
Docket NumberNo. 78452-3.
156 P.3d 201
160 Wn.2d 106
STATE of Washington, Respondent,
v.
Ismael ARMENDARIZ, Petitioner.
No. 78452-3.
Supreme Court of Washington, En Banc.
Argued March 13, 2007.
Decided April 19, 2007.

[156 P.3d 202]

Elaine L Winters, Washington Appellate Project, Seattle, WA, for Petitioner.

Scott Frederick Leist, James Morrissey Whisman, King County Prosecutor's Office, Prosecuting Atty. King County, King County Pros/App Unit Supervisor, Seattle, WA, for Respondent.

J.M. JOHNSON, J.


¶ 1 The Sentencing Reform Act of 1981(SRA), chapter 9.94A RCW, authorizes trial courts to impose crime-related prohibitions1 as part of defendants' sentences.2 We conclude that, as part of any felony sentence, such crime-related prohibitions may include orders prohibiting contact with victims or witnesses for the statutory maximum term. Thus, we hold that the trial court in the present case did not abuse its discretion in imposing a five-year no-contact order as part of petitioner Ismael Armendariz's sentence for third-degree assault.3

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 2 In November 2003, the Seattle Municipal Court issued an order forbidding Armendariz from having contact with Ms. Nonas-Truong through May 2004. However, in January 2004, Armendariz went to Nonas-Truong's residence. After arguing with Nonas-Truong, Armendariz left the premises. Later that same day, police responded to a 911 call reporting a possible domestic violence incident at the home. Upon arrival, Officer Chittenden went inside the residence to speak with Nonas-Truong and locked the door. While Officer Chittenden was inside, Armendariz returned and began yelling and banging on the front door. Officer Chittenden called for back-up, but then opened the door before his back-up arrived because he was afraid Armendariz would flee. Armendariz and Officer Chittenden ended up in a struggle, fighting on the floor until other officers arrived and helped take Armendariz into custody. Both Officer Chittenden and Armendariz suffered injuries for which they received medical treatment.

¶ 3 Armendariz was charged with third-degree assault and misdemeanor violation of a court order. Clerk's Papers (CP) at 1-2. A jury found Armendariz guilty as charged. CP at 30, 54. For the assault, Armendariz was sentenced to three months in jail followed by 12 months' community custody. CP at 34. The court also issued an order prohibiting Armendariz from contacting Nonas-Truong for five years. CP at 34. Additionally, the court imposed a condition of Armendariz's community custody prohibiting contact with Nonas-Truong. CP at 37. For violating a court order, the court gave Armendariz a 12-month suspended sentence on the condition that he serve five months in jail, have no contact with Nonas-Truong, and complete a domestic-violence treatment program. CP at 38-39.

¶ 4 Armendariz appealed his judgment and sentence to Division One of the Court of Appeals. See State v. Armendariz, 131 Wash.App. 1036, 2006 WL 322363, at *3, 2006 Wash.App. LEXIS 185, at *4 (per curiam) (unpublished). Armendariz's claims included: (1) that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, (2) that his postarrest statement was erroneously admitted into evidence, (3)

156 P.3d 203

that the trial court exceeded its statutory authority in issuing a no-contact order regarding Nonas-Truong as part of Armendariz's sentence for assaulting Officer Chittenden, and (4) that the trial court exceeded its authority in ordering Armendariz to participate in domestic violence treatment. Id., 2006 WL 322363, at **2, 3, 4, at **4, 6, 10, 12. The Court of Appeals rejected all of Armendariz's claims. Id., 131 Wash.App. 1036, 2006 WL 32236, at ** 2, 3, 4 at **6, 9, 12, 13.

¶ 5 In his petition for review, Armendariz submitted four issues to this court. We granted review solely as to the trial court's authority to impose a no-contact order effective for a term equal to the statutory maximum for Armendariz's assault offense. State v. Armendariz, 158 Wash.2d 1018, 149 P.3d 378 (2006).

ANALYSIS

A. Standard of Review

¶ 6 The imposition of crime-related prohibitions is generally reviewed for abuse of discretion. State v. Ancira, 107 Wash. App. 650, 653, 27 P.3d 1246 (2001). However, the key question in this case is not whether the trial court abused its discretion in exercising admittedly existing authority, but rather whether the trial court had any authority under the SRA to impose the no-contact order at issue. Because this case hinges on a matter of statutory interpretation, de novo is the appropriate standard of review. State v. J.P., 149 Wash.2d 444, 449, 69 P.3d 318 (2003).

¶ 7 The goal of statutory interpretation is to discern and implement the legislature's intent. J.P., 149 Wash.2d at 450, 69 P.3d 318. In interpreting a statute, this court looks first to its plain language. Id. If the plain language of the statute is unambiguous, then this court's inquiry is at an end. Id. The statute is to be enforced in accordance with its plain meaning. Id.

¶ 8 Where the plain language of the statute is subject to more than one reasonable interpretation, it is ambiguous. Cockle v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 142 Wash.2d 801, 808, 16 P.3d 583 (2001). This court may attempt to discern the legislative intent underlying an ambiguous statute from its legislative history. Id. Likewise, this court may look to authoritative agency interpretations of disputed statutory language. Port of Seattle v. Pollution Control Hearings Bd., 151 Wash.2d 568, 593, 90 P.3d 659 (2004).

B. Trial Court Authority to Impose No-Contact Orders as Part of Defendants' Sentences

¶ 9 Prior to 2001, trial courts had express statutory authority to impose orders like the five-year no-contact order at issue here. Specifically, former RCW 9.94A.120(20) (2000) authorized the imposition of no-contact orders for a term equal to the statutory maximum for the defendant's crime.4 See also State v. Miniken, 100 Wash.App. 925, 928, 999 P.2d 1289 (discussing trial court authority to impose no-contact orders under former RCW 9.94A.120(20)), review denied, 142 Wash.2d 1009, 16 P.3d 1267 (2000). The statutory maximum term for third-degree assault is five years. See RCW 9A.36.031(2) (third-degree assault is a class C felony); RCW 9A.20.021(1)(c) (maximum five years' confinement for class C felonies). Thus, former RCW 9.94A.120(20) expressly authorized a five-year no-contact order as part of Armendariz's sentence for assault. However, former RCW 9.94A.120(20) was amended in 2000 as part of a general reorganization of the SRA. Laws of 2000, ch. 28. This provision was replaced by former RCW 9.94A.120(8) (2000) (now codified at RCW 9.94A.505(8)). Id.; Laws of 2001, ch. 10. The provision now reads: "As a part of any sentence, the court may impose and enforce crime-related prohibitions and affirmative

156 P.3d 204

conditions as provided in this chapter." RCW 9.94A.505(8).

¶ 10 A "crime-related prohibition" is "an order of a court prohibiting conduct that directly relates to the circumstances of the crime for which the offender has been convicted." RCW 9.94A.030(13). It has already been determined that an order prohibiting Armendariz from contacting Nonas-Truong fits within the definition of crime-related prohibition. Armendariz, 131 Wash.App. 1036, 2006 WL 322363, at * 3, 2006 Wash.App. LEXIS 185, at *11-12.

1. The plain language of the SRA authorizes trial courts to impose crime-related prohibitions, including no-contact orders, under the independent authority of RCW 9.94A.505(8)

¶ 11 RCW 9.94A.505(8) is the key statutory provision in this case. Armendariz argues that RCW 9.94A.505(8) merely recognizes that authority to impose crime-related prohibitions may exist and requires trial courts to look to other provisions of the SRA for specific authorization to impose such orders. Armendariz contends that, in his particular case, the trial court authority to impose a no-contact order was limited to that provided by an SRA provision authorizing the imposition of conditions of community custody.5 See RCW 9.94A.700(5). The State counters that RCW 9.94A.505(8) independently authorizes trial courts to impose crime-related prohibitions, including no-contact orders, as part of all defendants' sentences. Thus, the State argues, the trial court here had authority to impose a no-contact order for the maximum term of his assault conviction, even if extending in excess of Armendariz's community custody. We agree with the State.

¶ 12 First, the conclusion that RCW 9.94A.505(8) constitutes an independent grant of authority to impose crime-related prohibitions is supported by the overall structure of RCW 9.94A.505. This statute provides a general outline of how courts are to impose felony sentences under the SRA. Subsection (2) of this statute refers to trial court sentencing authority specifically related to matters of community custody, RCW 9.94A.505(2)(a)(ii)-(iv). Subsection (8) provides that "[a]s a part of any sentence, the court may impose and enforce crime-related prohibitions and affirmative conditions as provided in this chapter." RCW 9.94A.505(8). This organizational structure supports the conclusion that trial court authority to impose crime-related prohibitions under subsection (8) exists separately from authority to impose conditions on community custody under subsection (2).

¶ 13 The plain language of RCW 9.94A.505(8), read together with the definitional provision RCW 9.94A.030(13), further supports the conclusion that trial courts possess authority to impose crime-related prohibitions under RCW 9.94A.505(8), independent of any other SRA provision. As noted above, RCW 9.94A.505(8) provides: "As a part of any sentence, the court may impose and enforce crime-related prohibitions and affirmative conditions as provided in this chapter." RCW 9.94A.505(8) (emphasis added). RCW 9.94A.030(13) defines a "crime-related prohibition" as "an order of a court prohibiting conduct that directly relates to the...

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526 practice notes
  • Adoption T.A.W. v. C.W., No. 92127-0
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • October 27, 2016
    ...out its intent. Id. Within our statutory interpretation process, we first consider the statute's plain language. State v. Armendariz, 160 Wn.2d 106, 110, 156 P.3d 201 (2007) (citing State v. J.P., 149 Wn.2d 444, 450, 69 P.3d 318 (2003)). "If the plain language is subject to only one interpr......
  • Certification from the U.S. Dist. Court for the E. Dist. of Wash. in Mariano Carranza v. Dovex Fruit Co., No. 94229-3
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • May 10, 2018
    ...the plain language of the statute is unambiguous, our interpretive inquiry is at an end. State v. Armendariz, 160 Wash.2d 106, 110-11, 156 P.3d 201 (2007) ; see also Quinault Indian Nation v. Imperium Terminal Servs., LLC, 187 Wash.2d 460, 474, 387 P.3d 670 (2017) ("If a statute is ambiguou......
  • Killian v. Seattle Pub. Sch., Corp., No. 93655-2.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • October 12, 2017
    ...to the plain language of a statute, and if that language is unambiguous, our inquiry ends. State v. Armendariz , 160 Wash.2d 106, 110, 156 P.3d 201 (2007) (citing State v. J.P. , 149 Wash.2d 444, 450, 69 P.3d 318 (2003) ). In this case, RCW 41.56.160(1) and RCW 41.80.120(1) include referenc......
  • Merriman v. Am. Guarantee & Liab. Ins. Co., No. 33929-7-III
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • April 11, 2017
    ...28 (2008). If the statute's meaning is plain on its face, then we apply that plain meaning. State v. Armendariz, 160 Wash.2d 106, 110, 156 P.3d 201 (2007). Only if the language is ambiguous do we look to aids of construction, such as legislative history. Id. at 110-111, 156 P.3d 201.¶36 RCW......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
526 cases
  • Adoption T.A.W. v. C.W., No. 92127-0
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • October 27, 2016
    ...out its intent. Id. Within our statutory interpretation process, we first consider the statute's plain language. State v. Armendariz, 160 Wn.2d 106, 110, 156 P.3d 201 (2007) (citing State v. J.P., 149 Wn.2d 444, 450, 69 P.3d 318 (2003)). "If the plain language is subject to only one interpr......
  • Certification from the U.S. Dist. Court for the E. Dist. of Wash. in Mariano Carranza v. Dovex Fruit Co., No. 94229-3
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • May 10, 2018
    ...the plain language of the statute is unambiguous, our interpretive inquiry is at an end. State v. Armendariz, 160 Wash.2d 106, 110-11, 156 P.3d 201 (2007) ; see also Quinault Indian Nation v. Imperium Terminal Servs., LLC, 187 Wash.2d 460, 474, 387 P.3d 670 (2017) ("If a statute is ambiguou......
  • Killian v. Seattle Pub. Sch., Corp., No. 93655-2.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • October 12, 2017
    ...to the plain language of a statute, and if that language is unambiguous, our inquiry ends. State v. Armendariz , 160 Wash.2d 106, 110, 156 P.3d 201 (2007) (citing State v. J.P. , 149 Wash.2d 444, 450, 69 P.3d 318 (2003) ). In this case, RCW 41.56.160(1) and RCW 41.80.120(1) include referenc......
  • Merriman v. Am. Guarantee & Liab. Ins. Co., No. 33929-7-III
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • April 11, 2017
    ...28 (2008). If the statute's meaning is plain on its face, then we apply that plain meaning. State v. Armendariz, 160 Wash.2d 106, 110, 156 P.3d 201 (2007). Only if the language is ambiguous do we look to aids of construction, such as legislative history. Id. at 110-111, 156 P.3d 201.¶36 RCW......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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