News & Updates

WSBA Council on Public Defense Seeks Your Input
August 24, 2018 | Mana

The WSBA Council on Public Defense (CPD) is seeking input from defenders in two areas of practice: ITA and persistent offender cases.

  • Today, the CPD Mental Health Committee is submitting proposed Performance Guidelines to the full CPD.  At the September 14, 2018 meeting the Committee will move that the CPD forward the proposed Guidelines and case definition with the request that the WSBA Board of Governors adopt the committee’s recommendations.
  • The CPD also is working on caseload standards for persistent offender cases (two and three-strikes cases) and requests practitioners fill out this poll.

The deadline for input on both items is September 7, 2018.  Please contact Christie Hedman at hedman@defensenet.org or 206-623-4321 if you have any questions. Thank you for your assistance!

Committee’s Recommendations

1-Recommend to the Washington Supreme Court that the Performance Guidelines for Attorneys Representing Respondents in Involuntary Commitment Proceedings be added to the Standards for Indigent Defense.  (These Guidelines have been circulated, and then revised, in light of comments from Disability Rights Washington, NAMI Greater Seattle, the Gender and Justice, practitioners and directors.)

2-Recommend to the Supreme Court that the Standards be added to the Mental Proceeding Rules (MPR), with a case definition specific to civil commitment proceedings.  (The definition is included at the end of this email.)  A survey of directors in jurisdictions that provide representation in ITA proceedings made clear that ITA “cases” were being defined differently all across the state.  Some jurisdictions used a definition consistent with the proposed language below.  Other offices essentially used case weighting to determine caseload.  Others did not count cases at all or counted all cases as less than a full credit.

The definition below will not change caseload in some counties.  In others it will not change caseload, assuming a satisfactory case weighting system is adopted and published as required by Standard 3.5.  In others jurisdictions it will require an increase in attorneys.  In all jurisdictions, but particularly in those that will be required to hire additional attorneys if the case definition is adopted, I encourage the public defenders to work with their county funders to seek reimbursement for costs, including defense costs, as authorized by 2012 SSB5531, effective July 2012.

3-Reqire that mental health practitioners, if the Standards are added to the MPR, to file Certification of Compliance with the Standards.

 

Proposed ITA Case Definition

  1. Each of the below is a case for purposes of caseload limits (and each is counted as a separate case, regardless of whether or not the parties and cause number remain the same): 
    1. the filing of a petition or document naming an adult or juvenile respondent, which seeks to have the respondent involuntarily committed for 14 days, or; 
    2. the filing of a petition or document naming an adult respondent, which seeks to have the respondent involuntarily committed for 90 days, or; 
    3. the filing of a petition or document naming an adult or juvenile respondent, which seeks to have the respondent involuntarily committed for 180 days, or; 
    4. the filing of a petition or document naming an adult or juvenile respondent, which seeks to have a least restrictive alternative (LRA) revoked and the respondent committed for the remaining term of that LRA, or; 
    5. the filing of a petition or document naming an adult respondent, which seeks to have the respondent ordered to comply with up to 90 days court ordered assisted outpatient behavioral health treatment, or; 
    6. the filing of a document naming an adult or juvenile respondent, which seeks to have the respondents least restrictive alternative renewed, if the matter is set for a hearing. 
  2. The definition of an ITA case will be re-examined if the state’s proposed plan to build regional hospitals and end transfer of respondents in ITA proceedings to state hospitals comes into effect.