State v. Dye

178 Wn. 2d 541 (2013)

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State v. Dye

Washington Supreme Court
178 Wn. 2d 541 (2013)

  • Written by Haley Gintis, JD

Facts

In 2005, Douglas Lare, who suffered from developmental disabilities and had the mental age of a child, began dating Alesha Lair. Lair was also dating Timothy Dye (defendant). Lair moved into Lare’s home, made $42,000 in credit-card charges under Lare’s name, and withdrew $59,000 from Lare’s retirement account. Lair then moved out. A few days later, Lare woke up to discover Dye in his home. The next day Lare realized that his DVD player, television, microwave, collectible knife, and VCR were missing. Following the burglary, Lare had extreme anxiety and installed multiple locks and slept with knives, mace, and a frying pan for security. The State of Washington (plaintiff) charged Dye with residential burglary and claimed that Lare’s vulnerability was an aggravating factor. The state filed a motion to allow Lare to testify at trial with the prosecution’s service dog, Ellie, because Lare had severe anxiety, feared the defendant, and had the mental age of a child. The trial court held a hearing and granted the motion, finding that Lare was developmentally disabled, that Lare had severe emotional trauma, and that Ellie would not cause any distractions. A jury convicted Dye of residential burglary but rejected that Lare was a vulnerable victim. Dye appealed. The court of appeals affirmed. The matter was appealed again. The Washington Supreme Court granted certiorari to review whether the trial court had abused its discretion in allowing Ellie’s presence at trial.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wiggins, J.)

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