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10.77.0845  <<  10.77.086 >>   10.77.088

RCW 10.77.086

Commitment — Procedure in felony charge.

(1)(a) If the defendant is charged with a felony and determined to be incompetent, until he or she has regained the competency necessary to understand the proceedings against him or her and assist in his or her own defense, or has been determined unlikely to regain competency pursuant to RCW 10.77.084(1)(b), but in any event for a period of no longer than ninety days, the court:

     (i) Shall commit the defendant to the custody of the secretary who shall place such defendant in an appropriate facility of the department for evaluation and treatment; or

     (ii) May alternatively order the defendant to undergo evaluation and treatment at some other facility as determined by the department, or under the guidance and control of a professional person.

     (b) For a defendant whose highest charge is a class C felony, or a class B felony that is not classified as violent under RCW 9.94A.030, the maximum time allowed for the initial period of commitment for competency restoration is forty-five days.

     (2) On or before expiration of the initial period of commitment under subsection (1) of this section the court shall conduct a hearing, at which it shall determine whether or not the defendant is incompetent.

     (3) If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant charged with a felony is incompetent, the court shall have the option of extending the order of commitment or alternative treatment for an additional period of ninety days, but the court must at the time of extension set a date for a prompt hearing to determine the defendant's competency before the expiration of the second restoration period. The defendant, the defendant's attorney, or the prosecutor has the right to demand that the hearing be before a jury. No extension shall be ordered for a second or third restoration period as provided in subsection (4) of this section if the defendant's incompetence has been determined by the secretary to be solely the result of a developmental disability which is such that competence is not reasonably likely to be regained during an extension.

     (4) For persons charged with a felony, at the hearing upon the expiration of the second restoration period or at the end of the first restoration period, in the case of a defendant with a developmental disability, if the jury or court finds that the defendant is incompetent, the charges shall be dismissed without prejudice, and the court shall order the defendant be committed to a state hospital as defined in RCW 72.23.010 for up to seventy-two hours starting from admission to the facility, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, for evaluation for the purpose of filing a civil commitment petition under chapter 71.05 RCW. The criminal charges shall not be dismissed if the court or jury finds that: (a) The defendant (i) is a substantial danger to other persons; or (ii) presents a substantial likelihood of committing criminal acts jeopardizing public safety or security; and (b) there is a substantial probability that the defendant will regain competency within a reasonable period of time. In the event that the court or jury makes such a finding, the court may extend the period of commitment for up to an additional six months.

[2013 c 289 § 2; 2012 c 256 § 6; 2007 c 375 § 4.]

Notes:

     Findings -- 2013 c 289: "The legislature finds that persons with a mental illness or developmental disability are more likely to be victimized by crime than to be perpetrators of crime. The legislature further finds that there are a small number of individuals who commit repeated violent acts against others while suffering from the effects of a mental illness and/or developmental disability that both contributes to their criminal behaviors and renders them legally incompetent to be held accountable for those behaviors. The legislature further finds that the primary statutory mechanisms designed to protect the public from violent behavior, either criminal commitment to a corrections institution, or long-term commitment as not guilty by reason of insanity, are unavailable due to the legal incompetence of these individuals to stand trial. The legislature further finds that the existing civil system of short-term commitments under the Washington's involuntary treatment act is insufficient to protect the public from these violent acts. Finally, the legislature finds that changes to the involuntary treatment act to account for this small number of individuals is necessary in order to serve Washington's compelling interest in public safety and to provide for the proper care of these individuals." [2013 c 289 § 1.]

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

     Findings -- Purpose -- Construction--Severability -- 2007 c 375: See notes following RCW 10.31.110.

     Captions not law -- 2007 c 375: See note following RCW 10.77.084.