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AGO 1953 No. 48 - May 19, 1953
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

REDETERMINATION OF MINIMUM SENTENCE.

 After 7 years confinement in prison, one is eligible for reconsideration of his minimum term pursuant to RCW 9.95.056.

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                                                                   May 19, 1953 

Honorable H. D. Van Eaton
Director
Department of Public Institutions
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 48

 Attention:  Mr. H. R. Washington 

Dear Sir:

             On May 8, 1953, you asked for our opinion on the following subject:

             Where a man is sentenced on two or more charges or counts, and the judgment is, upon conviction, that the sentences shall run consecutively, does RCW 9.95.056 apply when he has been in the institution seven years, or must he be in the institution seven years on each count.

             Our conclusion is that any prisoner after serving seven consecutive years in prison may be reconsidered for the duration of his confinement.

                                                                      ANALYSIS

             While there are no cases on this subject, RCW 1.12.010, Rules of Construction, advises that the code shall be liberally construed, and shall not be limited by any rule of strict construction.

             A portion of RCW 9.95.056 reads as follows:

             "After a person has been confined in the state penitentiary for seven years * * *"

              [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            We interpret that section to mean just what it says.  There is no requirement that he be confined seven years on each count.  Any other interpretation placed on the statute would mean that the time for reconsideration of a minimum term would vary according to the nature of each sentence.  This obviously was not the intent of the law and we do not so interpret it.

 Very truly yours,
DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General 

CYRUS A. DIMMICK
Assistant Attorney General

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