WA Legal Roundup - Washington State Supreme Court
Mattson was sentenced to 120 months for a sex offense with an additional 36-48 months community custody. With good time, he is ineligible for early release, but was eligible for early release into the community custody. DOC denied the request due to their policy that sex offenders not be released into the community under DOC Policy 350.200. Mattson went to Div I (via PRP) which held that there was a protected liberty interest in release to community custody.
Now, I want to pause right there to say it looks a bit odd. Those familiar with community custody know that it is still custody. I think it would be easy if this were the law to take the next step and say that inmates have a liberty interest in transfer to lesser restrictive means of incarceration, etc. You can see the slippery slope.
Anyhow, after the granting of the PRP by Div. I, DOC did an evaluation of Mattson's community custody plan and denied it again, as well as appealing the Div. I granting of the PRP.
We now reverse and hold that RCW 9.94A.728(2) does not establish a protected liberty interest in early release to community custody. DOC had statutory authority to determine eligibility standards for sex offenders for release to community custody and it had authority to deny Mattson's eligibility for such release on the basis of the psychological evaluation.
Lest you think Mattson is a nice guy, this psychological evaluation essentially set up Mattson for an SVP petition by the state...think of how absurd it would be to release a sexually violent predator into community custody, then at the end of it, bring him back and commit him under our SVP laws:
The psychiatrist based his determination [that Mattson is a sexually violent predator] on Mattson's prior unsuccessful treatments for sexual deviancy, his history of arrests for both sexual and nonsexual crimes, and Mattson's own admission that in addition to his two convictions for sex offenses, he had abused 50 to 60 victims -- girls from the ages of three to ten.