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10.77.050  <<  10.77.060 >>   10.77.065

RCW 10.77.060

Plea of not guilty due to insanity — Doubt as to competency — Evaluation — Bail — Report.

(1)(a) Whenever a defendant has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, or there is reason to doubt his or her competency, the court on its own motion or on the motion of any party shall either appoint or request the secretary to designate a qualified expert or professional person, who shall be approved by the prosecuting attorney, to evaluate and report upon the mental condition of the defendant.

     (b) The signed order of the court shall serve as authority for the evaluator to be given access to all records held by any mental health, medical, educational, or correctional facility that relate to the present or past mental, emotional, or physical condition of the defendant. If the court is advised by any party that the defendant may have a developmental disability, the evaluation must be performed by a developmental disabilities professional.

     (c) The evaluator shall assess the defendant in a jail, detention facility, in the community, or in court to determine whether a period of inpatient commitment will be necessary to complete an accurate evaluation. If inpatient commitment is needed, the signed order of the court shall serve as authority for the evaluator to request the jail or detention facility to transport the defendant to a hospital or secure mental health facility for a period of commitment not to exceed fifteen days from the time of admission to the facility. Otherwise, the evaluator shall complete the evaluation.

     (d) The court may commit the defendant for evaluation to a hospital or secure mental health facility without an assessment if: (i) The defendant is charged with murder in the first or second degree; (ii) the court finds that it is more likely than not that an evaluation in the jail will be inadequate to complete an accurate evaluation; or (iii) the court finds that an evaluation outside the jail setting is necessary for the health, safety, or welfare of the defendant. The court shall not order an initial inpatient evaluation for any purpose other than a competency evaluation.

     (e) The order shall indicate whether, in the event the defendant is committed to a hospital or secure mental health facility for evaluation, all parties agree to waive the presence of the defendant or to the defendant's remote participation at a subsequent competency hearing or presentation of an agreed order if the recommendation of the evaluator is for continuation of the stay of criminal proceedings, or if the opinion of the evaluator is that the defendant remains incompetent and there is no remaining restoration period, and the hearing is held prior to the expiration of the authorized commitment period.

     (f) When a defendant is ordered to be committed for inpatient evaluation under this subsection (1), the court may delay granting bail until the defendant has been evaluated for competency or sanity and appears before the court. Following the evaluation, in determining bail the court shall consider: (i) Recommendations of the evaluator regarding the defendant's competency, sanity, or diminished capacity; (ii) whether the defendant has a recent history of one or more violent acts; (iii) whether the defendant has previously been acquitted by reason of insanity or found incompetent; (iv) whether it is reasonably likely the defendant will fail to appear for a future court hearing; and (v) whether the defendant is a threat to public safety.

     (2) The court may direct that a qualified expert or professional person retained by or appointed for the defendant be permitted to witness the evaluation authorized by subsection (1) of this section, and that the defendant shall have access to all information obtained by the court appointed experts or professional persons. The defendant's expert or professional person shall have the right to file his or her own report following the guidelines of subsection (3) of this section. If the defendant is indigent, the court shall upon the request of the defendant assist him or her in obtaining an expert or professional person.

     (3) The report of the evaluation shall include the following:

     (a) A description of the nature of the evaluation;

     (b) A diagnosis or description of the current mental status of the defendant;

     (c) If the defendant suffers from a mental disease or defect, or has a developmental disability, an opinion as to competency;

     (d) If the defendant has indicated his or her intention to rely on the defense of insanity pursuant to RCW 10.77.030, and an evaluation and report by an expert or professional person has been provided concluding that the defendant was criminally insane at the time of the alleged offense, an opinion as to the defendant's sanity at the time of the act, and an opinion as to whether the defendant presents a substantial danger to other persons, or presents a substantial likelihood of committing criminal acts jeopardizing public safety or security, unless kept under further control by the court or other persons or institutions, provided that no opinion shall be rendered under this subsection (3)(d) unless the evaluator or court determines that the defendant is competent to stand trial;

     (e) When directed by the court, if an evaluation and report by an expert or professional person has been provided concluding that the defendant lacked the capacity at the time of the offense to form the mental state necessary to commit the charged offense, an opinion as to the capacity of the defendant to have a particular state of mind which is an element of the offense charged;

     (f) An opinion as to whether the defendant should be evaluated by a designated mental health professional under chapter 71.05 RCW.

     (4) The secretary may execute such agreements as appropriate and necessary to implement this section and may choose to designate more than one evaluator.

[2012 c 256 § 3; 2004 c 9 § 1; 2000 c 74 § 1; 1998 c 297 § 34; 1989 c 420 § 4; 1974 ex.s. c 198 § 6; 1973 1st ex.s. c 117 § 6.]

Notes:

     Purpose -- Effective date -- 2012 c 256: See notes following RCW 10.77.068.

     Severability -- 2000 c 74: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [2000 c 74 § 8.]

     Effective dates--Severability -- Intent -- 1998 c 297: See notes following RCW 71.05.010.