by Tim Rasmussen, Stevens Country Prosecutor
Ten years ago last May, a trial was completed in Superior Court. The jury convicted Gregory Lee Hyde of Chewelah of 1st Degree Rape and 1st Degree Kidnapping along with aggravating factors in each of the convictions. Judge Rebecca Baker sentenced Mr. Hyde to 579 months. This ended the case for the majority of our citizens, but the case continued for our office.
In the first round of the post-conviction battles, Judge Baker’s sentence was upheld in the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court refused to review the decision of the Court of Appeals so the sentence was valid and legal, 48.25 years of prison. Mr. Hyde did not accept this and a seemingly never-ending series of motions, writs and suits followed. At times there were several cases going at the same time with different numbers and different issues.
Most of the tactics involved Personal Restraint Petitions. (This is Washington’s version of a Writ of Habeas Corpus and can be raised for several reasons after appeals are finished. The common reason is that the law has changed and the new rule is applied retroactively.) Every imaginable argument was put forward. His trial lawyers both failed him, the court denied his speedy trial right, his continuance request immediately before trial was denied, evidence was wrongfully admitted, etc, etc. The attorney handling the case even attacked his own performance earlier during the appeal process. The variety of reasons was only limited by his and his attorney’s imaginations. But nothing seemed to work for him.
Last week, I received a decision that seems to have finally laid the issues to rest. The Court of Appeals consolidated several of the file numbers and in a 35-page opinion, addressed all the issues he has raised since the appeal was final. All his claims were denied and the sentence reaffirmed. Greg Hyde will not be getting the freedom he wanted. Of course, he will try and get the Supreme Court to review this, but I do not think they will give him any relief. He will stay in prison where he belongs.
All during this process, the State has had to respond to nearly every filing and every allegation that he made in his challenges to be set free from the sentence. I have had to hire appellate counsel to respond to these filings because the prosecutor who convicted Mr. Hyde is no longer working here. Every time the law changes and a new rule is put into effect that is deemed to be retroactive, it is possible that we will have to redo something that occurred many years ago. Let’s hope the law doesn’t change to give him another shot at freedom. Maybe this case is finally over.
– Tim Rasmussen
Stevens County Prosecutor