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Understanding the State of Washington v. Brandon James Sargent (2011) Decision


In the landmark 2011 case, State of Washington v. Brandon James Sargent, the Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 3, delivered a pivotal decision addressing the crucial issue of speedy trial rights under RCW 9.98.010. This case analysis offers invaluable insights into legal procedures and defendant rights in Washington State.


Brandon James Sargent faced convictions for second and third-degree escape. The core of his legal challenge centered on whether his right to a speedy trial, mandated within a 120-day period as per RCW 9.98.010, was violated. This piece offers an in-depth look at the procedural intricacies that defined this case.

Legal Framework:

The case hinged on RCW 9.98.010, which stipulates that imprisoned individuals with pending charges must be tried within 120 days of notifying the prosecuting attorney and the superior court. This notification must include a certificate detailing the inmate’s status, a key aspect in this case.

Sargent’s Legal Move:

While incarcerated at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, Sargent sent a detainer resolution request to the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office. However, his failure to attach the required certificate of inmate status and to notify the Benton County Superior Court Clerk as required by law became a significant point of contention.

Courtroom Dynamics:

After being transported to Benton County, Sargent challenged the timeliness of his trial. His defense argued that the missing certificate and failure to notify the court clerk should not negate his speedy trial rights. However, the State highlighted his non-compliance with the statutory requirements.

Judicial Analysis:

The court drew on

State v. Morris and other precedents to dissect the two-stage process outlined in RCW 9.98.010. Sargent’s non-compliance, particularly in not sending the request to the court clerk, proved to be a decisive factor. The court’s rigorous examination revealed multiple areas where Sargent failed to meet statutory criteria, leading to the rejection of his claim of substantial compliance.

Additional Evidence and Decision:

The court also considered offender kites submitted by Sargent. However, these failed to demonstrate his adherence to the necessary legal process. As a result, the trial court’s decision to deny Sargent’s motion to dismiss was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

Conclusion and Implications:

This case emphasizes the criticality of strict adherence to procedural requirements in criminal law, particularly in the context of speedy trial claims. State of Washington v. Brandon James Sargent (2011) serves as a vital reference for legal professionals and students alike, illustrating the delicate balance between legal processes and the rights of defendants.

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We are no-nonsense, relentless, fair, and honest. We are great listeners instead of fast talkers, that is just who we are. More than 20 years ago, Ken began practicing law with a deeply-seeded belief that every person has the right to the best legal representation available. He built his law firm on that belief. Another belief that he strongly adheres to is his fundamental belief that clients deserve respect, with no assumptions or preconceived notions.  If you or someone you know is accused of a crime or injured as a result of the negligence of another, please have them call us at 253-720-9304 or email us