S-1396.1  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 5886



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senators Long and Hargrove


Read first time 02/07/2001.  Referred to Committee on Human Services & Corrections.

Authorizing agreements to change the number of experts or professional persons who must examine a person for the state under chapter 10.77 RCW.

    AN ACT Relating to the number of experts or professional persons who must examine a person for the state under chapter 10.77 RCW; amending RCW 10.77.060; and creating a new section.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  The legislature finds that when experts or professional persons for the state examine a defendant under chapter 10.77 RCW, the use of multiple evaluators rarely results in differing reports.  The legislature also finds that the requirement of at least two experts or professional persons may place a barrier to conducting evaluations in local jails in some jurisdictions because of the strain it places on staffing resources at the state hospital.  The legislature further finds that when evaluations cannot be done in the local jail there is additional pressure placed on state hospital capacity and less time to restore competency.  Consequently, the legislature intends to remove the double staffing barrier in those cases where the parties agree that the state needs only one evaluator.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 10.77.060 and 2000 c 74 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:

    (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 at least two qualified experts or professional persons, one of whom shall be approved by the prosecuting attorney, to examine and report upon the mental condition of the defendant.  Upon agreement of the parties, the court may designate one expert or professional person to conduct the examination and report on the mental condition of the defendant.  At least one of the experts or professional persons appointed shall be a developmental disabilities professional if the court is advised by any party that the defendant may be developmentally disabled.  For purposes of the examination, the court may order the defendant committed to a hospital or other suitably secure public or private mental health facility for a period of time necessary to complete the examination, but not to exceed fifteen days from the time of admission to the facility.

    (b) When a defendant is ordered to be committed for inpatient examination 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 expert or professional persons 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 examination 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 examination shall include the following:

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

    (b) A diagnosis of the mental condition of the defendant;

    (c) If the defendant suffers from a mental disease or defect, or is developmentally disabled, 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, an opinion as to the defendant's sanity at the time of the act;

    (e) When directed by the court, 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 county designated mental health professional under chapter 71.05 RCW, and an opinion as to whether the defendant is 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.

    (4) The secretary may execute such agreements as appropriate and necessary to implement this section.


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