Tuesday, May 11, 2021
May 11, 2021

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Three in Clark County sentenced to life in prison may be resentenced due to 3-strikes law revision

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published:

Three men sentenced in Clark County to life in prison under the state’s three-strikes law, in part because of a second-degree robbery conviction, could be eligible for resentencing.

The Washington Legislature has passed a bill to resentence as many as 114 people who “struck out,” at least in part because of a second-degree robbery conviction, and are now serving life without parole.

Second-degree robbery, a felony which generally involves no weapon or physical injury, was removed from the state’s list of third-strike offenses in 2019. However, at that time, lawmakers declined to make it retroactive.

Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Scott Jackson said Thursday that at least three men would be eligible for resentencing under the revision: Tobbie Eaton, 37, Jerald Davenport Jr., 49, and Autrey Lewis Jr., 51.

“I think it’s a good thing. (Senate Bill) 5164, in part, was looking to assist in getting resentencing for individuals who were ‘struck out’ for a second-degree robbery conviction, and that’s no longer a strike. The way the statute is written it was making the process overly cumbersome, difficult. This will streamline that.”

Persistent Offender sentencing data available online from the Caseload Forecast Council shows that Davenport has been serving his sentence since 2002, and Eaton and Lewis have been serving theirs since 2006.

If resentenced, Jackson said he is unsure whether the men would have time left to serve.

The prosecutor’s office was already in the process of reviewing Eaton’s case when the revision passed the Legislature. Jackson said Eaton sent his request to the office a few months ago and had reached out again this week.

4th may not qualify

A fourth man, 60-year-old Curtis Caton, had also sent a request to the prosecutor’s office in October, Jackson said. Prosecutors are almost done with that review.

However, Jackson said he does not believe Caton’s case would qualify under the revision, because in addition to a second-degree robbery conviction, he had three other strike offenses for first-degree robbery.

Nonetheless, the prosecutor’s office plans to go forward with a petition to the court for resentencing, Jackson said.

A fifth man, Joel Reesman, 67, who could have qualified for resentencing under the revision, was released in March, Jackson said.

One of his strike convictions, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, was vacated due to a recent Washington Supreme Court ruling that found the state’s felony drug possession law to be unconstitutional.

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