PDFRCW 36.24.020

InquestsJuryVenuePayment of costs.

Any coroner, in his or her discretion, may hold an inquest if the coroner suspects that the death of a person was unnatural, or violent, or resulted from unlawful means, or from suspicious circumstances, or was of such a nature as to indicate the possibility of death by the hand of the deceased or through the instrumentality of some other person: PROVIDED, That, except under suspicious circumstances, no inquest shall be held following a traffic death.
The coroner in the county where an inquest is to be convened pursuant to this chapter shall notify the superior court to provide persons to serve as a jury of inquest to hear all the evidence concerning the death and to inquire into and render a true verdict on the cause of death. Jurors shall be selected and summoned in the same manner and shall have the same qualifications as specified in chapter 2.36 RCW.
At the coroner's request, the superior court shall schedule a courtroom in which the inquest may be convened, a bailiff, reporter, and any security deemed reasonably necessary by the coroner. The coroner and the superior court shall set an inquest date by mutual agreement. The inquest shall take place within eighteen months of the coroner's request to the court. If the superior court cannot accommodate the inquest for good cause shown, the court may designate a comparable public venue for the inquest in the county.
If the superior court is unable to provide a courtroom or comparable public venue, it shall certify courtroom unavailability in writing within sixty days of the coroner's request and the inquest shall be scheduled and transferred to another county within one hundred miles of the requesting county.
The prosecuting attorney having jurisdiction shall be notified in advance of any such inquest to be held, and at his or her discretion may be present at and assist the coroner in the conduct of the same. The coroner may adjourn the inquest from time to time as he or she may deem necessary.
The costs of inquests, including any costs incurred by the superior court, shall be borne by the county in which the inquest is requested. When an inquest is transferred to another county due to unavailability of a courtroom, the county from which such inquest is transferred shall pay the county in which the inquest is held all costs accrued for per diem and mileage for jurors and witnesses and all other costs properly charged to the transferring county.
[ 2016 c 13 s 1; 2009 c 549 s 4032; 1988 c 188 s 18; 1963 c 4 s 36.24.020. Prior: 1953 c 188 s 3; Code 1881 s 2777; 1863 p 560 s 3; 1854 p 436 s 3; RRS s 4181.]


Legislative findingsSeverabilityEffective date1988 c 188: See notes following RCW 2.36.010.