State v. Ford

In State v. Ford, 137 Wn.2d 472, 973 P.2d 452 (1999), the Supreme Court of Washington adopted a more relaxed standard for proving an out-of-state conviction. Under the Washington Sentencing Reform Act of 1981, a range of acceptable sentences is calculated before sentencing that depends upon both an "offender score" and the "seriousness level" of the offense. When out-of-state convictions are involved, those offenses have to be classified "'according to the comparable offense definitions and sentences provided by Washington law.'" Ford, 973 P.2d at 455 (quoting Wash.Rev.Code 9.94A.360(3)). In discussing the proof necessary to admit a foreign conviction, the court in Ford stated: The best evidence of a prior conviction is a certified copy of the judgment. However, the State may introduce other comparable documents of record or transcripts of prior proceedings to establish criminal history. (court may look at foreign indictment and information to determine whether underlying conduct satisfies elements of Washington offense). (973 P.2d at 456.)