WA Legal Roundup - Washington State Supreme Court
Moore is a bad bad man who does bad bad things. He claimed that his SVP hearing was fundamentally flawed because he was incompetent to stand trial. Moore was no stranger to competency hearings. He was found incompetent twice out of 10 evaluations over the years. When he was deemed incompetent, it involved his not taking his meds, drinking out of urinals, having doo doo butter in his hair, and completing shutting off as far as communication was concerned. During his SVP proceeding, he was cooperating with his counsel, and wasn't exhibiting his usual signs of being incompetent. He argues that the court shouldn't have allowed him to stipulate to certain facts because he was nutter butter, and that it was ineffective assistance for his attorney to allow it.
The trial court found him competent, I get that. There is one part that troubles me. Yes, SVP proceedings are civil, but as far as due process is concerned, the court equated it with just basic civil due process, rather than looking at the liberty interest on par with criminal due process requirements. The liberty interest is the same, non? As such, a heightened standard should be used, such that any waiver of right should be evaluating for knowing and voluntary (which would have probably been met here).
The dissent here took issue with the majority's view that the state need not prove that someone will reoffend in the foreseeable future, looking towards case law stating the danger must be current. I tend to agree with that notion. Again, one that wouldn't be at issue here, but should still be proven.
While I am generally an ardent supporter of our state's SVP laws, I still think we have to be ever vigilant not to trod on the constitution when utilizing them.