State v. Dobbs

320 P.3d 705 (2014)

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State v. Dobbs

Washington Supreme Court
320 P.3d 705 (2014)

Facts

In November 2009, C.R. terminated her relationship with Timothy John Dobbs (defendant). After the relationship ended, Dobbs began appearing at C.R.’s home and repeatedly texting and calling her. C.R. had to contact law-enforcement officers on multiple occasions because Dobbs threatened to end her life. At one point, C.R. called police after gunshots were fired near her home and Dobbs left a voicemail on her phone admitting that he had shot the bullets. Dobbs was arrested, and the state of Washington (plaintiff) pursued stalking, harassment, and drive-by-shooting charges. Dobbs called C.R. from jail, threatening her if she pressed charges or cooperated with the police. The state subpoenaed C.R. to appear as a witness in Dobbs’s trial. However, C.R. did not appear. Prosecutors and the police were unable to find her. In response to C.R.’s absence, the state moved for a ruling that Dobbs could not claim a violation of his rights under the Confrontation Clause in the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and could not object to hearsay evidence. The state argued that Dobbs had forfeited his confrontation rights and hearsay objections by causing C.R.’s absence. The trial court found by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that Dobbs had caused C.R.’s absence by his threatening behavior. The court held that Dobbs had forfeited his confrontation rights and hearsay objections. Dobbs was convicted of the stalking, harassment, and drive-by-shooting offenses, as well as intimidating a witness, unlawful possession of a firearm, and obstructing a law-enforcement officer. Dobbs appealed on the ground that the trial court had erred in holding that he had forfeited his confrontation rights and hearsay objections. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court. The matter was appealed to the Washington Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Owens, J.)

Dissent (Wiggins, J.)

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