Under the Washington Sentencing Reform Act (SRA), two or more offenses committed in one transaction count as criminal history for the purpose of enhancing the sentence for each offense, unless the offenses encompass the "same criminal conduct." In State v. Collicott, the Washington Supreme Court held that offenses that share statutory elements constitute the same criminal conduct. The court's previous approach in State v. Dunaway focused on whether one crime furthered another. Analysis demonstrates that Dunaway better provides for proportionate sentences, and coupled with the merger doctrine, adequately prevents double punishment. Thus, the Washington Legislature should amend the SRA to codify the Dunaway approach.
Joseph P. Bennett,
The "Same Criminal Conduct" Exception of the Washington Sentencing Reform Act: Making the Punishment Fit the Crimes—State v. Collicott, 112 Wash. 2d 399, 771 P.2d 1137 (1989),
65 Wash. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol65/iss2/12