In re Pers. Restraint of Bell (Majority)Annotate this Case
Reginald Bell was convicted in 2009 of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver and bail jumping. His judgment and sentence became final on direct appeal in 2012. In October 2015, Bell filed a personal restraint petition; the acting chief judge dismissed it as improperly successive. Bell then sought discretionary review from the Supreme Court. The Court's commissioner denied review, and Bell moved to modify the commissioner's ruling. He argued that, procedurally, his personal restraint petition should have been transferred to the Supreme Court rather than dismissed because his successive petition did not assert an issue that was raised and determined on the merits in a previous personal restraint petition. The Supreme Court agreed: a successive personal restraint petition that does not seek relief on the same grounds as those adjudicated in a previous petition must generally be transferred to the Supreme Court rather than be dismissed. However, there is an exception: if the Court of Appeals determines that the successive petition was time barred, then the Court of Appeals should dismiss it. In this case, however, the Court of Appeals made no such determination. Hence, it erred in dismissing Bell's petition rather than transferring it to the Supreme Court.