The state’s highest court has upheld a law that simplifies the process for holding mentally ill people charged with violent felonies after efforts to restore their competency fail.
The Washington Supreme Court has upheld a 2013 law that simplifies the process for holding mentally ill people charged with violent felonies after efforts to restore their competency fail.
If a person is found incompetent to stand trial and treatment doesn’t work, the charges against them are dropped. The new law lets the state quickly commit those offenders for extended periods if prosecutors can show the person is likely to commit another violent act.
Lawyers for two offenders challenged the law, arguing it violated their rights. A trial court commissioner agreed and found the law unconstitutional.
But on Thursday, the state’s highest court reversed that ruling.
Most Read Local Stories
- 'They're always from somewhere else': A Northwest town debates who owns its homelessness crisis
- Washington is the country's worst offender when it comes to using too much jargon
- Missing paddleboarder found dead in Lake Sammamish
- Bellevue man who drowned in Lake Washington identified
- Coronavirus daily news updates, June 19: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
The justices said the government has an interest in protecting the public from violent individuals. They said the law only slightly modifies the process for committing a specific group of mentally ill people.