In some ways, Washington juvenile offenders may be treated differently than they would be if they were adult offenders. Both the Washington Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have acknowledged that “children are different.”
In a recent case, a juvenile defendant challenged her sentence. She was a first-time offender. She did not meet the conditions of her deferred disposition, so it was revoked. The juvenile court found the standard sentencing range would be insufficient and entered a manifest injustice disposition and imposed 24 to 32 weeks total incarceration.
The defendant appealed and the appeals court granted expedited status. However, according to the appeals court’s opinion, its review was “compromised by the transgressions of the prosecutor.” The appeals court noted the prosecutor had not timely obtained findings of fact and conclusions of law. When the prosecutor did obtain the findings and conclusions after being ordered to do so by the clerk of court, they did so in an ex parte proceeding without giving notice to the defendant or her attorney. The defendant raised the issue and included it in her brief. The prosecutor did not directly address the issue in its brief, but instead referenced a different pleading.