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Bob Ferguson

AGLO 1982 No. 20 -
Attorney General Ken Eikenberry


The provisions of § 2, chapter 207, Laws of 1982, relating to the imposition of a monetary assessment upon a criminal offender to pay for certain probation services, will not become legally operative until July 1, 1984, when the pertinent provisions of chapter 9.94A RCW themselves take effect in accordance with § 28, chapter 137, Laws of 1981.

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                                                                    July 30, 1982

Honorable David F. Thiele
Island County Prosecuting Attorney
Coupeville, Washington 98239                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1982 No. 20

Dear Sir:

            By recent letter you requested our opinion on the following question:

            "Is the superior court, beginning June 10, 1982, required to impose a monthly fee upon probationers for supervision pursuant to chapter 207, § 2, 1982 Laws, when the court is sentencing a convict pursuant to authority granted under RCW Chapters 9.92 or 9.95, or do the provisions of said 1982 legislation only become effective on July 1, 1984, the effective date of the sentencing provisions of RCW 9.94A.120?"

            We answer your question as indicated below.


            Chapter 207, Laws of 1982, relates to parole and probation services.  Section 2 thereof adds the following new section to chapter 9.94A RCW:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "(1) Whenever a punishment imposed under this chapter requires probation services to be provided, the sentencing court shall require, as a condition of probation, that the offender pay to the department of corrections the monthly assessment, prescribed under subsection (2) of this section, which shall be for the duration to the probation and which shall be considered as payment or part payment of the cost of providing probation supervision to the probationer.  The court may exempt a person from the payment of all of any part of the assessment based upon any of the following factors:

            "(a) The offender has diligently attempted but has been unable to obtain employment which provides the offender sufficient income to make such payments.

            "(b) The offender is a student in a school, college, university, or a course of vocational or technical training designed to fit the student for gainful employment.

            "(c) The offender has an employment handicap, as determined by an examination acceptable to or ordered by the court.

            "(d) The offender's age prevents him from obtaining employment.

            "(e) The offender is responsible for the support of dependents and the payment of the assessment constitutes an undue hardship on the offender.

            "(f) Other extenuating circumstances as determined by the court.

            "(2) The department of corrections shall adopt a rule prescribing the amount of the assessment.  The department may, if it finds it appropriate, prescribe a schedule of assessments which shall vary in accordance with the intensity or cost of the supervision.  The department may not prescribe any assessment which is less than ten dollars nor more than fifty dollars.

            "(3) All amounts required to be paid under this section shall be collected by the department of corrections and deposited by the department in the state general fund.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            "(4) This section shall not apply to probation services provided under an interstate compact pursuant to chapter 9.95 RCW or to probation services provided for persons placed on probation prior to the effective date of this act."

            Chapter 207,supra, having been passed by the legislature during this 1982 regular session without an emergency clause, became effective on June 10, 1982.  However, § 2, thereof, as above quoted, by its express terms only applies when a punishment is imposed under chapter 9.94A RCW.  And, in turn, because of a delayed effective date in § 28, chapter 137, Laws of 1981 (by which chapter 9.94A RCW was itself enacted) no such chapter 9.94A RCW punishment may be imposed until July 1, 1984.1/

             It therefore follows that the provisions of § 2, chapter 207, Laws of 1982, supra, while themselves now in effect, will not become legally operative until July 1, 1984, for the reason that there will not, until then, be any impositions of punishment "under this chapter" with respect to which those provisions (i.e., of § 2, chapter 207, supra) may operate.

            We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Deputy Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/Specifically, although denominated the "Sentencing Reform Act of 1981," chapter 137, supra, which is now chapter 9.94A RCW, contained in § 28 the following delayed effective date provision:

            "Sections 8 through 13, sections 15 through 23, and sections 25 and 26 of this act shall take effect on July 1, 1984.  The sentences required under this chapter shall be prescribed in each sentence which occurs for a felony committed after June 30, 1984."