In Re PRP Mark Gossett – Washington Supreme Court
Court: Washington Supreme Court
Case No.: 96989-2
Hearing Date: N/A
Incarcerated father was convicted of two sex offenses against minor children and was denied visitation with his own children by DOC even after he was authorized to have visits with his own minor children by the sentencing court. He filed a personal restrain petition to challenge WA State Department of Corrections denial of parent-minor child visitation and blanket prohibition on all contact with any minors. Division Two Court of Appeal held that the personal restraint petition was proper; but denied his relief on three grounds, stating: (1) that the WA State and US constitutions’ due process clauses did not create a protected liberty interest in prison visitation between prison inmate and his minor children; (2) the sentencing court lacked personal jurisdiction over DOC to impose conditions related to inmate’s supervised visitation with his minor children while in DOC custody, and thus the provisions of an order amending and clarifying inmate’s judgment and sentence on counts for second degree rape of child and second degree child molestation were not binding on DOC; and (3) that DOC did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in denying inmate visitation with his minor children, reasoning that DOC’s policy directive allowing Department to prohibit inmate’s contact with his own children if necessary to protect the children from any specific and documented threat of harm.
WDA IPP filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the father’s motion for discretionary review in the WA State Supreme Court.