State v. Young – Case Brief Summary (Washington)

In State v. Young, 63 Wn. App. 324, 818 P.2d 1375; 63 Wn. App. 324, 818 P.2d 1375 (1991), the defendant was convicted of two counts of vehicular homicide. Id. at 325.

He was sentenced to serve twelve-months for each count in a work release program, and to pay restitution in the amount of $ 250 per month. Id.

The defendant argued that this restitution obligation was unconstitutional under Article 1, section 15 of the Washington Constitution.

The Court of Appeals of Washington held that this argument had no merit, explaining:

When the United States Constitution was being drafted, its framers wanted to limit the perpetual aspect of forfeitures for treason . . . . The framers' intent was manifested in U.S. Const. art. 3, § 3, cl. 2. It provides:

The congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attained . . . .

Article 1, section 15 of the Washington Constitution is related to U.S. Const. art. 3, § 3, in that both deal with forfeitures. Const. art. 1, § 15, however, prohibits more than just the perpetual aspect of forfeitures. It provides:

No conviction shall work corruption of blood, nor forfeiture of estate. Still, when construed in light of its common law history, Const. art. 1, § 15 only prohibits forfeiture of a convict's estate on the ground that he or she is incapacitated from owning property due to conviction. It does not prohibit forfeiture for a variety of other rational and legitimate purposes, such as punishing the defendant to a degree commensurate with the crime (fines); rehabilitating the defendant by requiring restitution or other monetary payments, or depriving the defendant of the fruits or instrumentalities of the crime. (Young, 63 Wn. App. at 328-329.)