IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
STATE OF WASHINGTON,
Armstrong, J. — A juvenile court granted I.K.C. a deferred disposition under RCW
13.40.127 and imposed 15 days of detention as part of his community supervision order. I.K.C.
appeals, arguing RCW 13.40.127 does not allow juvenile courts to impose detention for deferred
dispositions. The parties agree that this appeal is technically moot because I.K.C. has already
completed the detention term, but I.K.C. asks us to consider the issue as a matter of continuing
and substantial public interest. We agree and hold that RCW 13.40.127 does not permit imposing
detention for deferred dispositions.
Following a fight at school between I.K.C., a 14 year-old boy, and N.W., a 15 year-old
boy, the State charged I.K.C. with third degree assault. I.K.C. moved for a deferred disposition
under RCW 13.40.127. The statute allows eligible juveniles2 to defer the disposition of their case
for up to one year while they are placed under community supervision. RCW 13.40.127(2), (5).
Because the defendant is a juvenile, we find that some anonymity is appropriate. Accordingly,
we use initials to identify him.
“A juvenile is eligible for deferred disposition unless he or she: (a) Is charged with a sex or
violent offense; (b) Has a criminal history which includes any felony; (c) Has a prior deferred
disposition or deferred adjudication; or (d) Has two or more adjudications.”
The juvenile must stipulate to the facts in the police report and if he or she fails to comply with
the terms of supervision, the stipulated facts are used to support a finding of guilt and impose a
disposition. RCW 13.40.127(3). If the juvenile complies with the terms of supervision, the case
is dismissed with prejudice at the end of the supervision period. RCW 13.40.127(9).
At a hearing on I.K.C.’s deferred disposition motion, the juvenile court asked I.K.C. if he
understood that probation could involve up to 150 hours of community service, 30 days in
detention, and restitution to the victim. I.K.C. responded that he understood and still wanted a
deferred disposition. The court granted his motion.
The probation department then recommended, among other things, that the court impose
5 days of detention. The State recommended 20 days of detention. I.K.C.’s counsel argued that
20 days of detention was extreme for a juvenile with no prior criminal history and that RCW
13.40.127 does not permit courts to impose detention for a deferred disposition. The juvenile
court stated that it thought recent case law allowed imposing detention for deferred dispositions
and ordered 15 days of detention, with 4 days to be served in secured detention and the remaining
11 days to be served in jail alternatives, if I.K.C. qualified for the alternatives.3 I.K.C. appeals,
arguing RCW 13.40.127 does not allow juvenile courts to impose detention for a deferred
The juvenile court also ordered 12 months of community supervision, 32 hours of community
service, and restitution to N.W.
I. Moot Case
The parties agree this case is technically moot because I.K.C. has already served his
But we may review a moot case if it presents issues of “‘continuing and
substantial public interest.’” Satomi Owners Ass’n v. Satomi, LLC, 167 Wn.2d 781, 796, 225
P.3d 213 (2009) (quoting In re Marriage of Horner, 151 Wn.2d 884, 891, 93 P.3d 124 (2004)).
In deciding whether a case presents issues of continuing and substantial public interest, three
factors are determinative: “‘(1) whether the issue is of a public or private nature; (2) whether an
authoritative determination is desirable to provide future guidance to public officers; and (3)
whether the issue is likely to recur.’” Satomi, 167 Wn.2d at 796 (quoting Horner, 151 Wn.2d at
892). We may also consider “‘the likelihood that the issue will escape review because the facts of
the controversy are short-lived.’” Satomi, 167 Wn.2d at 796 (quoting Horner, 151 Wn.2d at
The issue of whether a juvenile court can impose detention under the deferred disposition
statute, RCW 13.40.127, meets these criteria. It is public in nature and is likely to recur because
the probation department stated at I.K.C.’s hearing that its “standard recommendation” for
deferred dispositions includes five days of detention. Report of Proceedings at 10. Also, I.K.C.
has provided records for all Kitsap County deferred dispositions between January 1, 2006, and
December 31, 2009, and those records show that out of 510 deferred dispositions, 217 juveniles
received some detention time.
Because this issue arises fairly frequently, an authoritative
determination on whether imposing detention is lawful under RCW 13.40.127 is desirable to
provide guidance to juvenile courts. Finally, the majority of juveniles that received detention time
for deferred dispositions in Kitsap County received between 1 and 5 days of detention, and I.K.C.
received 15 days of detention. Because the facts of the controversy are short-lived, this issue will
continue to escape review if we decline to consider it. Thus, this case presents an issue of
continuing and substantial public interest that we should consider. See Satomi, 167 Wn.2d at 796.
The State argues, however, that it would be inequitable to allow I.K.C. to contest the
validity of his detention term under the circumstances of this case. First, the State argues that
I.K.C.’s objection was untimely because he was aware that the State intended to recommend
detention and understood that detention was a possible consequence, but waited until after the
court granted his deferred disposition motion to object to the detention recommendation.
Generally, an objection is timely when the alleged error is brought to the trial court’s attention at
a time when the court has an opportunity to correct it. See Smith v. Shannon, 100 Wn.2d 26, 3738, 666 P.2d 351 (1983); In re Welfare of Young, 24 Wn. App. 392, 396-97, 600 P.2d 1312
(1979). Here, I.K.C. waited to object to the State’s recommendation of 20 days’ detention until
the State actually made the recommendation to the juvenile court. He also objected before the
court made its final ruling on the conditions of his community supervision order. Thus, I.K.C.
properly brought the alleged error to the court’s attention at a time when the court had an
opportunity to correct it. See Smith, 100 Wn.2d at 37-38; Young, 24 Wn. App. at 397. Whether
he could have potentially objected earlier in the hearing does not render this objection untimely.
The State also argues that it could have charged I.K.C. with second degree assault,
thereby rendering him ineligible for a deferred disposition, but it agreed to charge a lesser crime
and not object to a deferred disposition. Because I.K.C. received the benefit of his bargain with
the State, the State argues we should decline to review the validity of his detention term. But “a
defendant cannot, by way of a negotiated plea agreement, agree to a sentence in excess of that
authorized by statute and thus cannot waive a challenge to such a sentence.” In re Pers. Restraint
of Goodwin, 146 Wn.2d 861, 872, 50 P.3d 618 (2002). The same principle applies here: if a
juvenile court cannot impose detention under the deferred disposition statute, RCW 13.40.127,
then I.K.C. could not agree to the unlawful detention term or waive his right to challenge it. For
these reasons, we will review this moot case to determine whether a juvenile court can impose
detention under RCW 13.40.127.
II. Confinement Not Authorized For Deferred Dispositions
Standard of Review
Statutory interpretation is a question of law that we review de novo. State v. Watson, 146
Wn.2d 947, 954, 51 P.3d 66 (2002). When interpreting a statute, our fundamental objective is to
ascertain the legislature’s intent. Watson, 146 Wn.2d at 954. To determine legislative intent, we
first look to the statutory language. Watson, 146 Wn.2d at 954. If a statute’s language is clear,
we derive its meaning from that plain language. Watson, 146 Wn.2d at 954.
Deferred Disposition Statute and Definitions
The deferred disposition statute, RCW 13.40.127(5), provides: “Any juvenile granted a
deferral of disposition under this section shall be placed under community supervision. The court
may impose any conditions of supervision that it deems appropriate including posting a probation
bond.” (Emphasis added.) In State v. J.A., 105 Wn. App. 879, 887, 20 P.3d 487 (2001),
Division One of our court interpreted this statute as providing a “broad grant of authority” that
allows juvenile courts to impose any conditions the court deems appropriate:
[S]ubsection (5) [of RCW 13.40.127] sets a foundation for judicial discretion by
allowing a juvenile court to impose “any conditions” of a deferred disposition that
it deems appropriate. This broad grant of authority acknowledges that the
circumstances of individual juveniles are unique and that courts must have
discretion to fashion orders that will [a]ffect both accountability and rehabilitation.
Division Three of this court relied on J.A. in State v. Lown, 116 Wn. App. 402, 410-11, 66
P.3d 660 (2003), overruled in part on other grounds by State v. Ramer, 151 Wn.2d 106, 86 P.3d
132 (2004), when considering whether a juvenile court exceeded its authority by imposing 10
days of confinement as punishment for a juvenile who violated the terms of her community
supervision. Although the Lown court ultimately held that the State did not have standing to
contest confinement, because the juvenile was the only aggrieved party and did not contest
confinement, the court also opined:
The juvenile justice act does not explicitly authorize the particular sanction the
commissioner imposed. But the court may impose “any conditions of supervision
that it deems appropriate.” RCW 13.40.127(5); J.A., 105 Wn. App. at 887. This
gives the juvenile court broad authority to craft an appropriate sanction.
Lown, 116 Wn. App. at 410-11.
These cases are distinguishable because the present issue was not squarely before either
court.4 Upon closer examination, it is clear that the plain language of the deferred disposition
The issue in J.A. was whether RCW 13.40.127(7) grants a juvenile court discretion to determine
what constitutes a lack of compliance with the conditions of community supervision. J.A., 105
Wn. App. at 887-88. The issue in Lown was whether a juvenile court could impose detention as
punishment for violating the conditions of community supervision where the juvenile suggested
and agreed to detention as an appropriate punishment, not whether the court could have initially
imposed detention as a condition of community supervision. Lown, 116 Wn. App. at 410-11.
statute does not allow a juvenile court to impose any conditions that the court deems appropriate.
Rather, the statute allows the court to place the juvenile under “community supervision” and
impose “any conditions of supervision that it deems appropriate.” RCW 13.40.127(5). The term
“community supervision” is defined by statute and specifically lists the conditions that a juvenile
court may include:
Community supervision is an individualized program comprised of one or more of
the following: (a) Community-based sanctions; (b) Community-based
rehabilitation; (c) Monitoring and reporting requirements; (d) Posting of a
RCW 13.40.020(4)(a)-(d). “Community-based sanctions” include a fine of $500 or less and up to
150 hours of community service. RCW 13.40.020(2)(a)-(b). “Community-based rehabilitation”
includes education and treatment programs:
Employment; attendance of information classes; literacy classes; counseling,
outpatient substance abuse treatment programs, outpatient mental health
programs, anger management classes, education or outpatient treatment programs
to prevent animal cruelty, or other services; or attendance at school or other
educational programs appropriate for the juvenile as determined by the school
“Monitoring and reporting requirements” include curfews and similar
restrictions on the juvenile’s movement but specifically excludes confinement:
Curfews; requirements to remain at home, school, work, or court-ordered
treatment programs during specified hours; restrictions from leaving or entering
specified geographical areas; requirements to report to the probation officer as
directed and to remain under the probation officer’s supervision; and other
conditions or limitations as the court may require which may not include
RCW 13.40.020(19) (emphasis added). “Confinement” includes “physical custody in a detention
facility.” RCW 13.40.020(5).
Thus, a juvenile court can choose from a broad range of conditions when crafting an
individualized program to suit the needs of a particular juvenile, including community-based
sanctions, community-based rehabilitation, monitoring and reporting requirements, and posting a
probation bond. RCW 13.40.020(4). Confinement is conspicuously absent from this list and is
expressly disallowed under “[m]onitoring and reporting requirements.” See RCW 13.40.020(4),
(5), (19). The plain language of RCW 13.40.127(5) and RCW 13.40.020 demonstrates that the
legislature did not intend to allow juvenile courts to impose confinement as a condition of
community supervision for deferred dispositions. See Watson, 146 Wn.2d at 954.
The State argues, however, that the statutory definition of “community supervision” does
not limit a juvenile court’s discretion in deferred disposition cases because RCW 13.40.127(5)
states that a juvenile court “may impose any conditions of supervision that it deems appropriate,”
not “any conditions of community supervision that it deems appropriate.” Br. of Resp’t at 12-13.
We disagree. It is clear from the context of the entire provision that the statute is specifically
referring to community supervision, not some other, undefined type of supervision:
13.40.127(5) first requires that a juvenile who has been granted a deferred disposition “be placed
under community supervision,” and then allows a juvenile court to “impose any conditions of
supervision that it deems appropriate.” Additionally, the statutory definition of “community
supervision” specifically references deferred disposition orders: “‘Community supervision’ means
an order of disposition by the court of an adjudicated youth not committed to the department [of
social and health services] . . . or an order granting a deferred disposition.” RCW 13.40.020(4)
Accordingly, we hold that the plain language of RCW 13.40.127 does not allow juvenile
courts to impose detention as a condition of community supervision for deferred dispositions.
But because I.K.C. has already served his detention term, we need not vacate the term or remand
to the juvenile court for further proceedings.