GRAHAM LAWYER BLOG » Blog Archive » Police Arrest Brian Hickson for Alleged Robbery of Bank in Coulee Dam

Police Arrest Brian Hickson for Alleged Robbery of Bank in Coulee Dam

Posted February 10th 2010 at 1:24 pm by Steve Graham

Today in The Star Newspaper, there is an interesting story about a man arrested for an alleged robbery of a bank in Okanogan County. 

The man, Brian Hickson, allegedly walked into a Coulee Dam bank and handed the teller a note that read %u201CGive me your money.%u201D  The teller refused saying %u201CI can%u2019t do that,%u201D and Brian Hickson left.  The police stated that Hickson later told them it was a %u201Cprank%u201D.

So does that constitute an attempted robbery?  Under Washington law, a person commits robbery when he %u201Ctakes personal property from the person of another or in his presence against his will by the use or threatened use of immediate force, violence, or fear of injury%u2026.%u201D  Was the alleged statement made by Brian Hickson a threat?

This case kind of reminds me about a case that went to the Supreme Court a few years ago called State v. Collinsworth.    In that case the defendant entered Washington Mutual Bank and approached the teller and demanded money.  He appeared to be %u201Cvery nervous%u201D and %u201Cfidgety,%u201D told the teller in a %u201Cserious%u201D tone of voice, %u201CI need your hundreds, fifties and twenties.%u201D   When the teller paused, unsure of what to do, Collinsworth said, %u201CI%u2019m serious.%u201D As the teller started retrieving currency, Collinsworth said, %u201CNo bait, no dye.%u201D  The Supreme Court explained that even though he made no overt threatening gestures and did not display a weapon, Collinsworth%u2019s unequivocal demands for immediate surrender of the bank%u2019s money, under the circumstances of the case , were sufficient to support a robbery conviction.

However, those circumstances appear to be different than the incident Brian Hickson was charged with.  When Collinsworth was charged, he was a bit more forceful with his point, and made explicit references to the dye that is used to deter crimes such as robberies.  It will be interesting to see what comes of this case.   I don%u2019t think a jury will expect a teller to have a sense of humor about Mr. Hickson%u2019s %u201Cprank%u201D,  but on the other hand there doesn%u2019t seem to be an clear legal precedent to support a robbery charge under Washington law.  It may be that the jurors will be given the option of considering a lesser charge.

By Steve Graham.


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Lawyer’s take on Star article about the arrest last week for attempted bank robbery in Coulee Dam.

About Scott Hunter

Editor of The Star newspaper in Grand Coulee, observer of life, history, patterns in things that matter.
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