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10.77.065  <<  10.77.068 >>   10.77.070

RCW 10.77.068

Competency to stand trial, admissions for inpatient services — Performance targets — Duties of the department — Report — New entitlement or cause of action not created — No basis for contempt or motion to dismiss.

(1)(a) The legislature establishes the following performance targets for the timeliness of the completion of accurate and reliable evaluations of competency to stand trial and admissions for inpatient services related to competency to proceed or stand trial for adult criminal defendants. The legislature recognizes that these targets may not be achievable in all cases without compromise to quality of evaluation services, but intends for the department to manage, allocate, and request appropriations for resources in order to meet these targets whenever possible without sacrificing the accuracy of competency evaluations, and to otherwise make sustainable improvements and track performance related to the timeliness of competency services:

     (i) For a state hospital to extend an offer of admission to a defendant in pretrial custody for legally authorized treatment or evaluation services related to competency, or to extend an offer of admission for legally authorized services following dismissal of charges based on incompetent to proceed or stand trial, seven days or less;

     (ii) For completion of a competency evaluation in jail and distribution of the evaluation report for a defendant in pretrial custody, seven days or less;

     (iii) For completion of a competency evaluation in the community and distribution of the evaluation report for a defendant who is released from custody and makes a reasonable effort to cooperate with the evaluation, twenty-one days or less.

     (b) The time periods measured in these performance targets shall run from the date on which the state hospital receives the court referral and charging documents, discovery, and criminal history information related to the defendant. The targets in (a)(i) and (ii) of this subsection shall be phased in over a six-month period from May 1, 2012. The target in (a)(iii) of this subsection shall be phased in over a twelve-month period from May 1, 2012.

     (c) The legislature recognizes the following nonexclusive list of circumstances that may place achievement of targets for completion of competency services described in (a) of this subsection out of the department's reach in an individual case without aspersion to the efforts of the department:

     (i) Despite a timely request, the department has not received necessary medical clearance information regarding the current medical status of a defendant in pretrial custody for the purposes of admission to a state hospital;

     (ii) The individual circumstances of the defendant make accurate completion of an evaluation of competency to proceed or stand trial dependent upon review of medical history information which is in the custody of a third party and cannot be immediately obtained by the department. Completion of a competency evaluation shall not be postponed for procurement of medical history information which is merely supplementary to the competency determination;

     (iii) Completion of the referral is frustrated by lack of availability or participation by counsel, jail or court personnel, interpreters, or the defendant; or

     (iv) An unusual spike in the receipt of evaluation referrals or in the number of defendants requiring restoration services has occurred, causing temporary delays until the unexpected excess demand for competency services can be resolved.

     (2) The department shall:

     (a) Develop, document, and implement procedures to monitor the clinical status of defendants admitted to a state hospital for competency services that allow the state hospital to accomplish early discharge for defendants for whom clinical objectives have been achieved or may be achieved before expiration of the commitment period;

     (b) Investigate the extent to which patients admitted to a state hospital under this chapter overstay time periods authorized by law and take reasonable steps to limit the time of commitment to authorized periods; and

     (c) Establish written standards for the productivity of forensic evaluators and utilize these standards to internally review the performance of forensic evaluators.

     (3) Following any quarter in which a state hospital has failed to meet one or more of the performance targets in subsection (1) of this section after full implementation of the performance target, the department shall report to the executive and the legislature the extent of this deviation and describe any corrective action being taken to improve performance. This report must be made publicly available. An average may be used to determine timeliness under this subsection.

     (4) Beginning December 1, 2013, the department shall report annually to the legislature and the executive on the timeliness of services related to competency to proceed or stand trial and the timeliness with which court referrals accompanied by charging documents, discovery, and criminal history information are provided to the department relative to the signature date of the court order. The report must be in a form that is accessible to the public and that breaks down performance by county.

     (5) This section does not create any new entitlement or cause of action related to the timeliness of competency evaluations or admission for inpatient services related to competency to proceed or stand trial, nor can it form the basis for contempt sanctions under chapter 7.21 RCW or a motion to dismiss criminal charges.

[2012 c 256 § 2.]

Notes:

     Purpose -- 2012 c 256: "The purpose of this act is to sustainably improve the timeliness of services related to competency to stand trial by setting performance expectations, establishing new mechanisms for accountability, and enacting reforms to ensure that forensic resources are expended in an efficient and clinically appropriate manner without diminishing the quality of competency services, and to reduce the time defendants with mental illness spend in jail awaiting evaluation and restoration of competency." [2012 c 256 § 1.]

     Effective date -- 2012 c 256: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect May 1, 2012." [2012 c 256 § 14.]