RCW 9.94a.345 Interpretation

RCW 9.94A.345 states that "any sentence imposed under this chapter shall be determined in accordance with the law in effect when the current offense was committed." The Legislature expressly declared its intent, stating that RCW 9.94A.345 is intended to cure any ambiguity that might have led to the Washington supreme court's decision in State v. Cruz, Cause No. 67147-8 (October 7, 1999). A decision as to whether a prior conviction shall be included in an individual's offender score should be determined by the law in effect on the day the current offense was committed. RCW 9.94A.345 is also intended to clarify the applicability of statutes creating new sentencing alternatives or modifying the availability of existing alternatives. LAWS OF 2000, ch. 26, 1. In State v. Cruz, 139 Wn.2d 186, 985 P.2d 384 (1999), the Court explained the 1990 amendments were substantive changes because they imposed an affirmative disability, they promoted a retributive aim of punishment, and there was no nonrational basis or nonpunitive purpose for the changes. Cruz, 139 Wn.2d at 192. In Cruz, the court construed the 1990 version of RCW 9.94A.360. Although it is true that once a statute has been judicially construed the Legislature may not subsequently contravene that construction, see, e.g., In re F.D. Processing, Inc., 119 Wn.2d 452, 461-62, 832 P.2d 1303 (1992), the 1997 version of RCW 9.94A.360 is not the version of the statute which was construed in Cruz. Therefore, the Legislature was free to declare the meaning of the subsequently amended statute without regard to this court's prior construction in Cruz. It did so when it enacted RCW 9.94A.345.