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State v. P.E.T.

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1

February 17, 2015

The State of Washington, Respondent,
v.
P.E.T., Appellant

Oral Argument January 9, 2013

Appeal from King County Superior Court. Docket No: 10-8-04358-8. Judge signing: Honorable Michael C Hayden. Judgment or order under review. Date filed: 11/15/2011.

Marla L. Zink and Gregory C. Link (of Washington Appellate Project ), for appellant.

Daniel T. Satterberg, Prosecuting Attorney, and James M. Whisman and Samantha D. Kanner, Deputies, for respondent.

Authored by Ronald Cox. Concurring: Linda Lau, Stephen J. Dwyer.

OPINION

Page 690

[185 Wn.App. 893] Cox, J.

¶ 1 At issue is whether the trial court improperly placed on Parish Tate the burden of proving his incompetence at a competency hearing under former chapter 10.77 RCW (2010). The hearing occurred during the juvenile court's adjudication and disposition on the charge of second degree robbery.

¶ 2 We previously concluded tat the trial court erroneously placed the burden of proving incompetence on Tate, and we reversed and remanded.[1] Following that decision, the supreme court, in State v. Coley, made clear that the burden of proof under this chapter is on the party challenging competency.[2] Accordingly, the supreme court granted the State's petition for review in this case and remanded to this court for reconsideration in light of Coley. [3]

¶ 3 We called for supplemental briefing and directed the parties to address the effect of Coley on this case. After considering the parties' briefing and looking to Coley, we conclude that the trial court properly placed the burden of [185 Wn.App. 894] proving incompetence on Tate, the party challenging competency. Accordingly, we now affirm.

Page 691

¶ 4 The relevant facts are undisputed. In 2009, Tate was found incompetent and several charges against him were dismissed based on that finding.[4] That proceeding and those charges are unrelated to this case.

¶ 5 In December 2010, slightly over one year after the prior dismissal based on incompetency, the State charged Tate with second degree robbery after an incident on a bus.

¶ 6 Because the juvenile court had reason to doubt Tate's competency, it ordered that Tate be admitted for evaluation at Western State Hospital to determine whether he was competent to stand trial.[5] Two qualified professionals examined him.[6] One of these professionals, Western State Hospital Staff Psychologist Dr. Ray Hendrickson, authored a forensic mental health evaluation for Tate on April 7, 2011.[7]

¶ 7 Tate contested the findings in the report, and the court held a competency hearing. At the hearing, the State asked for a determination of competency, and Tate asked for a determination of incompetency.[8]

¶ 8 The State presented testimony from Dr. Hendrickson. He testified that Tate (1) " [did] not currently suffer from a mental illness," (2) " possesse[d] the ability to have a factual and rational understanding of the charges and court proceedings he faces," and (3) " possesse[d] the capacity to communicate with his attorney to assist in his defense." [9] Tate's counsel cross-examined the doctor regarding his report and findings.

[185 Wn.App. 895] ¶ 9 During that hearing, the issue of which party bore the burden of proof arose. The court considered case authority and arguments of the parties on this question. Thereafter, the court concluded that Tate had to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he was incompetent to stand trial. Based on this conclusion and the evidence at the hearing, the court found that ...


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