In 2002, Brockie was accused of robbing a Pizza Hut, an Inland Northwest Bank, and a Safeway Federal Credit Union and of kidnapping the staff and patrons of those establishments in the course of the robberies. During his trial, the evidence showed that the robber displayed what appeared to be a gun throughout the robberies. During closing arguments, the prosecutor made references to the gun when he referred to the robber as a "gumnan" and described how the employees were forced "at gunpoint" to remove money from a vault. See Mot. to Vacate J. and Sentence (treated as a personal restraint petition), Ex. D at 807. Throughout the trial, Brockie maintained that he was not involved in the robberies.
By law, there are distinct ways-or means-to commit first degree robbery. At issue in this case is the fact that the means in Brockie's charging information did not match the means described in the jury instructions. Brockie's charging information for the robberies indicated that "in the commission of and immediate flight therefrom, the defendant displayed what appeared to be a firearm or other deadly weapon," which is one of the alternative means of committing first degree robbery. See Mot. to Vacate J. and Sentence, Ex. Bat 1-2; former RCW 9A.56.200(1)(b) (1975). However, the jury instructions described two alternative means for first degree robbery: "A person commits the crime of robbery in the first degree when in the commission of a robbery he or she is armed with a deadly weapon or displays what appears to be a firearm or other deadly weapon." Resp. toPers. Restraint Pet., Attach. I, Instruction 8 (emphasis added); former RCW 9A.56.200(l)(a)-(b).
Judge(s): Susan Owens
Jurisdiction: Washington Supreme Court
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