MARCH 4, 2021
In the Office of the Clerk of Court
WA State Court of Appeals, Division III
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
STATE OF WASHINGTON, )
) No. 37337-1-III
HOWARD LACKEY, ) UNPUBLISHED OPINION
STAAB, J. — Howard Lackey pleaded guilty to manslaughter and second degree
unlawful possession of a firearm. At sentencing, the judge imposed the high end of the
standard range for both offenses and ordered consecutive sentences. Mr. Lackey appeals,
arguing that the court did not make adequate findings to support his sentence and did not
have the authority to impose consecutive sentences. The State concedes that the court did
not make adequate findings but argues that the court had the authority to impose
consecutive sentences. We vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing.
Howard Lackey was charged with second degree murder and second degree
unlawful possession of a firearm for the shooting death of Keli Jo Jurdy. Mr. Lackey
eventually pleaded guilty to an amended charge of first degree manslaughter and second
State v. Lackey
degree unlawful possession of a firearm. The parties agreed on Mr. Lackey’s criminal
history, offender score calculation, and standard range sentence. With an offender score
of 1, the standard range for the manslaughter charge was 86 to 114 months of
confinement and 3 to 8 months for the firearm charge. The plea agreement allowed the
parties to argue for a sentence within the standard range.
At sentencing, the State requested a sentence at the high end of the sentencing
range for each charge to run concurrent. Mr. Lackey requested a low-end standard range
sentence. The court concluded that it could and would impose high-end consecutive
sentences, 114 months on the manslaughter and 8 months on the firearm charge, for a
total of 122 months. In support of its sentence, the court noted:
The Court also considers the impact on the victim, the past
domestic violence, and the fact that you had past felonies that wash that
weren’t counted toward your offender score. All of those things indicate
to the Court that a high end consecutive sentence is appropriate in this
So the Court has taken into consideration all of the sentencing
arguments, all of the victim impact statements, as well as the statements
on behalf of the defendant.
Report of Proceedings at 66-67.
Mr. Lackey objected to the consecutive sentences. In response, the court indicated
that the consecutive sentences were supported by the purposes of sentencing outlined in
RCW 9.94A.010. The court did not make written findings to support imposing an
State v. Lackey
The court also imposed a filing fee of $200 even though Mr. Lackey had qualified
for appointed counsel. Other than asking if Mr. Lackey had been previously employed,
there was no discussion of Mr. Lackey’s ability to pay.
Mr. Lackey appeals his sentence, arguing that the court lacked authority to
sentence Mr. Lackey to consecutive sentences and failed to consider Mr. Lackey’s ability
to pay when imposing costs. The State concedes that consecutive sentences under these
circumstances constitute an exceptional sentence and that the court failed to enter
findings to support an exceptional sentence.
Generally speaking, the Sentencing Reform Act of 1981, ch. 9.94A RCW, requires
concurrent sentences when a person is sentenced to two or more current offenses on the
same day. RCW 9.94A.589(1)(a). “Consecutive sentences may only be imposed under
the exceptional sentence provisions of RCW 9.94A.535.”
Id. RCW 9.94A.535 also
makes it clear that consecutive sentences are exceptional sentences. The imposition of an
exceptional sentence requires the court to “set forth the reasons for its decision in written
findings of fact and conclusions of law.” RCW 9.94A.535.
In this case, while it is clear that the court considered factors to justify an
exceptional sentence, it did not believe that a consecutive sentence qualified as an
exceptional sentence and did not provide written findings of fact. Written findings are
essential. State v. Friedlund,
182 Wash. 2d 388
341 P.3d 280
State v. Lackey
Mr. Lackey argues that the trial court not only failed to provide written findings to
support its sentence, but the court lacked authority to impose consecutive sentences,
quoting State v. Grenning,
142 Wash. App. 518
174 P.3d 706
(2008). Br. of
Appellant at 6. Mr. Lackey’s quote from Grenning, includes a citation to In re Pers.
Restraint of VanDelft,
158 Wash. 2d 731
147 P.3d 573
(2006), for the proposition that
“judicial fact-finding that imposes consecutive sentences under RCW 9.94A.589(1)(a) is
impermissible.” This argument is not well received. VanDelft has been expressly
In VanDelft we applied Apprendi and Blakely to find that the Sixth
Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find facts to support
consecutive sentences. Ice applied Apprendi and Blakely as well, but
arrived at the opposite conclusion. Under Ice, a sentencing judge, not a
jury, may find facts to support consecutive sentences. Ice squarely
overrules VanDelft. Accordingly, under Ice the trial judge did not err by
imposing exceptional consecutive sentences for Vance’s crimes.
State v. Vance,
168 Wash. 2d 754
230 P.3d 1055
In this case, the parties disagree on the proper remedy. Mr. Lackey argues that the
proper remedy is to vacate the sentence and remand with instructions to impose a
concurrent sentence. The State asks us to remand without vacating so that the court can
enter findings to support the exceptional sentence. Since the court discussed the factors
that justify imposing an exceptional sentence but did not believe it was imposing an
Oregon v. Ice,
555 U.S. 160
129 S. Ct. 711
172 L. Ed. 2d 517
State v. Lackey
exceptional sentence, the proper remedy is to vacate the sentence and remand for
resentencing. State v. Rasmussen,
109 Wash. App. 279
34 P.3d 1235
Mr. Lackey also challenges the imposition of the $200 filing fee as part of his
sentence. Again, the State concedes that the filing fee should not have been imposed
because Mr. Lackey was found indigent.
Under RCW 36.18.020(2)(h), courts are prohibited from imposing court costs,
including criminal filing fees, on indigent defendants. Courts are required to make an
individualized inquiry into the defendant’s ability to pay before imposing legal financial
obligations. State v. Blazina,
182 Wash. 2d 827
344 P.3d 680
In this case, the court did not conduct a Blazina inquiry at sentencing, and Mr.
Lackey had previously been found indigent for the purposes of acquiring appointed
counsel. The discretionary costs should not have been imposed.
Vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing.
A majority of the panel has determined this opinion will not be printed in the
Washington Appellate Reports, but it will be filed for public record pursuant to
Fearing, J. Siddoway, A.C.J.