Pin It
Favorite

Tighten the Law? 

click to enlarge art19429.jpg

A 2011 bill sponsored by state Sens. Debbie Regala and Jim Hargrove would have amended the state’s sexually violent predator law, in part by compelling committed offenders to participate in in-person interviews with an evaluator during their annual review.

The idea, explains David Hackett, the King County prosecutor who helped draft the amended language, was to encourage offenders at McNeil Island to undergo treatment. Currently, according to the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, just 37 percent of the resident population does. Lawmakers argued the annual review system created one major unintended consequence of indefinite civil commitment; namely, offenders could zip their lips, refuse treatment and effectively age out of confinement through continuous litigation.

“Basically, you didn’t do anything and your attorney would claim in court all the information about you was old and outdated,” Hackett says. “That’s a pretty common strategy [among defense attorneys].”

But the bill went one step further: It placed the burden of proof on the offender, rather than the state, to “prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the person’s condition has so changed” that he no longer meets the definition of a sexually violent predator.

SB 5202 “was pretty much dead on arrival,” says Brooke Burbank, an assistant attorney general. The bill passed the Senate unanimously, and made it through the House, but in a drastically altered form. Eventually it went nowhere. “The defense bar has a very strong lobby and they did not like [it],” says Burbank.

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Pacifying the Future
  • Pacifying the Future

    A local homebuilder has embraced a design strategy that could be the future of buildings
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • Surge Protectors
  • Surge Protectors

    Solar and wind power need batteries to be reliable; Demand Energy's software makes those batteries more efficient
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • Innovation Station
  • Innovation Station

    Toolbox is a space for innovative products to grow
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Think & Drink: "Writing in the Margins: Race in Literature"

Think & Drink: "Writing in the Margins: Race in Literature" @ Lindaman's

Tue., April 28, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Deanna Pan

Most Commented On

  • Restore the Honesty

    Re-establishing trust with the public will require courage on the part of our elected officials
    • Apr 8, 2015
  • Don't Test Me

    The Smarter Balanced standardized test has sparked a rebellion in Western Washington — and it's spreading
    • Apr 15, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation