Washington v. Thomason (Majority and Concurrence)Annotate this Case
Petitioner Lance Thomason attempted to steal about $15 worth of meat and cheese from Yoke’s Fresh Market in Spokane and fought with a security guard on his way out. A jury convicted him of second degree robbery, and the trial court imposed a 63-month sentence—a sentence at the bottom of the standard sentence range. Thomason appealed, arguing that the “de minimis” nature of his crime, especially his supposedly minimal use of force, justified an exceptional sentence below the standard range. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Washington Supreme Court concluded that under RCW 9.94A.535(1), the de minimis nature of a crime could constitute a substantial and compelling factor that supported an exceptional sentence below the standard range, in the appropriate case. An appropriate case was one in which (1) the legislature did not consider the mitigating factor already when it listed the elements of the crime or set the standard sentence range and (2) the factor constitutes a substantial and compelling reason to depart below the range. The Supreme Court concluded Thomason failed to satisfy the statute's criteria. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals.