Child rapist’s sentence must be reviewed in light of Blake decision

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Jeremey Douglas Pedersen (Department of Corrections)

SPOKANE — A convicted child rapist who acted as his own attorney must be resentenced for his crime, despite the fact his appeal was largely unsuccessful.

Jeremey Douglas Pedersen, now 48, was sentenced last year to more than 28 years — 342 months — after turning down a court-appointed lawyer and representing himself before a Chelan County jury. He was convicted of sexually assaulting a victim in roughly 2011 when she was 6 years old. The child testified against him at his February 2020 trial.

His sentence is indeterminate, meaning before his incarceration ends, a corrections commission must rule that he’s fit to reenter society.

The Court of Appeals on Tuesday turned down almost all of Pedersen’s arguments to overturn the verdict, including his allegations of improper opinion testimony, introduction of hearsay evidence, and prosecutorial misconduct. But because a 2014 drug possession crime contributed to the calculation of his sentence, he must now be resentenced and the possession charge stricken from sentencing factors.

The Washington Supreme Court voided all cases of simple drug possession this year in its State vs. Blake decision. “A void conviction cannot be used to enhance a defendant’s offender score,” Appellate Chief Judge Rebecca Pennell wrote for the three-judge panel. “Accordingly, Mr. Pedersen is entitled to resentencing.”

Pedersen’s offender score, used to calculate his original sentence, was 9 including the drug conviction. Judge Lesley Allan assigned him an exceptional sentence, 24 months greater than the high end of the 240- to 318- month range his crime would ordinarily carry. His sentence is indeterminate, meaning before his incarceration ends, a corrections commission must rule that he’s fit to reenter society.

Allan retired from the bench earlier this summer; another Chelan County judge has leeway to impose another exceptional sentence when his case is heard.