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State, Department of Social and Health Services v. Zamora

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1

March 6, 2017

STATE OF WASHINGTON, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES, Respondent,
v.
ISAAC L. ZAMORA, Appellant. STATE OF WASHINGTON, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Appellant,
v.
ISAAC L. ZAMORA, Respondent.

          Schindler, J.

         In 2009, Isaac L. Zamora pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated murder in the first degree. The State stipulated to entry of a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity to two other counts of aggravated murder in the first degree. The court ordered Zamora committed to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). In 2015, the court granted the DSHS petition to discharge Zamora from DSHS custody and remanded him to the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) to serve the sentence on four counts of aggravated murder in the first degree. Zamora challenges the order granting the petition to remand him to DOC under a 2013 amendment to RCW 10.77.200(3). Zamora contends the order violates the 2009 plea agreement and due process, the ex post facto and bill of attainder provisions of the federal and state constitutions, and RCW 10.77.200(3) is unconstitutionally vague. In the alternative, Zamora contends DSHS did not meet its burden of proving under RCW 10.77.200(3) that his "mental disease or defect is manageable within a state correctional institution or facility." DOC appeals the court order on the grounds that the court did not have jurisdiction to impose conditions on DOC.[1] We hold the order to remand to DOC did not violate the terms of the plea agreement and due process or the ex post facto and bill of attainder provisions of the federal and state constitutions, and RCW 10.77.200(3) is not unconstitutionally vague. Because DOC was not a party to the proceedings below, the court did not have jurisdiction to impose conditions on DOC. We remand to the superior court to determine whether absent the conditions imposed on DOC, DSHS met its burden under RCW 10.77.200(3).

         Criminal Charges

         On September 2, 2008, Isaac L. Zamora stole a large knife, rifle, handgun, and ammunition. Zamora shot and killed Chester Rose and Skagit County Sheriff Deputy Anne Jackson. Zamora then shot and killed two construction workers and stole a pickup truck. Zamora drove to a nearby house, crashed into the garage, and shot at property owner Fred Binschus as he ran away. When Julie Binschus arrived home, Zamora shot and killed her.

         After Zamora left the Binschus property, he "rammed" into a vehicle and tried to shoot the driver but the gun malfunctioned. Before driving away, Zamora stabbed the man twice in the chest. On the way to lnterstate-5 (1-5), Zamora shot a man riding a motorcycle in the arm.

         While driving on 1-5, Zamora shot at a car. The bullet passed through the front windows but did not hit the driver or passenger. Zamora then shot through the window of a second vehicle, killing the driver. As Zamora continued to drive south on 1-5, he shot at an unmarked Washington State Patrol vehicle. The bullet hit the trooper in the forearm.

         The State charged Zamora with six counts of aggravated murder in the first degree, six counts of attempted murder in the first degree, three counts of burglary in the first degree, residential burglary, robbery in the first degree, two counts of theft of a firearm, and unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree.

         2009 Plea Agreement

         Zamora entered into a plea agreement. Zamora agreed to plead guilty to four counts of aggravated murder in the first degree, six counts of attempted murder in the first degree, three counts of burglary in the first degree, residential burglary, robbery in the first degree, two counts of theft of a firearm, and unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree.

          The State agreed not to seek the death penalty or file "further charges or sentence enhancements."

In recognition of the defendant's acceptance of culpability by entry of the pleas of guilty in conjunction with those factors considered in the mitigation package and the opinions of the mental health experts who examined the defendant, his circumstances and his history, the State agrees not to seek the death penalty pursuant to RCW chapter 10.95 for the charges of Aggravated Murder in counts 6, 7, 8, 9, 13 and 18.

         The State also stipulated that "as to counts 6 and 7, the counts of Aggravated Murder related to the deaths of Chester Rose and Anne Jackson, ... the defendant will enter a plea of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity pursuant to RCW 10.77.060." The State and Zamora agreed to a "Stipulation of Facts" for "purposes of the Court's findings on Acquittal by Reason of Insanity for Counts VI and VII and for purposes of accepting guilty pleas on Counts I - V and VIII - XX." The plea agreement states, "The parties stipulate that the sentencing court may consider the Arrest Warrant Declaration and the Stipulation of Facts, filed separately herein, as the material facts that provide the basis for the plea."

         The State and Zamora also stipulated that if the court found Zamora not guilty by reason of insanity, Zamora should be civilly committed to Western State Hospital (WSH).

The parties further stipulate that the defendant should be committed to Western State Hospital because he presents a substantial danger to person and presents a substantial likelihood of committing criminal acts jeopardizing public safety or security unless kept under further control of other persons or institutions pursuant to RCW 10.77.110(1).

         The parties agreed to recommend the court find Zamora not guilty by reason of insanity on the two counts of aggravated murder of Chester Rose and Deputy Anne Jackson and "concurrent with the entry of judgment and sentence as to the remaining counts, " Zamora would be committed to WSH.

The parties will recommend that the Court follow the agreement that the defendant be found not guilty by reason of insanity as to counts 6 and 7, and that, concurrent with the entry of judgment and sentence as to the remaining counts, the defendant will be committed to Western State Hospital (WSH) based upon that finding and RCW chapter 10.77 (specifically RCW 10.77.120).

         The plea agreement states that under State v. Sommerville. 111 Wn.2d 524, 760 P.2d 932 (1988), and RCW 10.77.120, Zamora would be committed to WSH until he is eligible for release and transfer to the Department of Corrections (DOC) to serve the sentence. The plea agreement states, in pertinent part:

It is further understood by the parties, that based on case law the defendant and the State anticipate that the defendant will be sent to Western State Hospital until such time if any he is eligible for a conditional release and at that time he will be transferred [to] the Department of Corrections for the serving of his sentence in this case. The interpretation of the law that the defendant shall go to Western State Hospital is based on State v. Sommerville, 111 Wash.2d 524, (1988) and RCW 10.77.120.

         In Sommerville, the Washington Supreme Court held that where a court finds a defendant not guilty by reason of insanity on one count but finds the defendant guilty on another count, the prison sentence does not begin until after the defendant is discharged from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) custody. Sommerville, 111 Wn.2d at 534-36. RCW 10.77.120 states that "persons who are committed ... as criminally insane" are under the control, care, and treatment of DSHS and shall not be released from the control of DSHS until after a hearing and order of release.

         On November 17, 2009, the court held a hearing on the plea agreement. The court found Zamora guilty as charged on all counts except count 6 and count 7. The court found Zamora not guilty by reason of insanity on counts 6 and 7 and that he should be committed to WSH until the court entered an order remanding him to DOC to serve his sentence. The findings of fact state:

1. The defendant committed the acts alleged in Counts I through XX of the Information; The Court makes the following findings as to those counts based on the attached Stipulation of Facts which is incorporated into this document by reference and also based on the probable cause affidavit previously filed in this case. The defendant agrees that the Court may rely on these two documents in support of its findings. See Exhibits "A" and "B".
2. The defendant was legally insane at the time of the commission of the acts alleged in Counts VI and VII of the Information and is not legally responsible for said acts;
3. There is a substantial danger that the Defendant may injure other persons unless kept under further control by the Court, other persons, or other appropriate institutions;
4. There is a substantial likelihood that the Defendant will commit criminal acts jeopardizing public safety or security unless [k]ept under further control by the Court, other persons, or other appropriate institutions;
5. It is in the best interest of the Defendant and the public that the Defendant, Isaac Zamora, be placed in treatment at the State Mental Hospital at Western State Hospital, Fort Steilacoom, Washington.
The conclusions of law state:
1. That the court has jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter of this cause;
2. That concurrent with entry of Judgment and Sentence as to Counts I-V, VIII - XX, an order should be entered remanding the defendant to the jurisdiction of Western State Hospital for appropriate treatment as being Criminally Insane, pursuant to RCW Chapter 10.77.
3. That pursuant to the agreement of the parties and State v. Sommerville, 111 Wn.2d 524 (1988), the Defendant should be committed to Western State Hospital, and that upon any conditional release that may subsequently be ordered by the Court, he should be remanded to the custody of the Washington Department of Corrections to serve any prison term imposed under this cause.

         Judgment and Sentence

         On November 30, 2009, the court imposed consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole on four counts of aggravated murder in the first degree. The court found Zamora not guilty by reason of insanity of aggravated murder in the first degree as charged in counts 6 and 7. The court committed Zamora "to the custody of the Department of Social and Health Services as being Criminally Insane pursuant to Chapter 10.77 of the Revised Code of Washington." The "Order of Commitment" states that after entry of a court order to discharge or release Zamora from DSHS, Zamora shall be remanded to DOC to serve the prison sentence. The Order of Commitment states, in pertinent part:

The defendant shall remain committed with the Department of Social and Health Services as criminally insane subject only to further proceedings of this Court for conditional release and/or final discharge or release. Upon any conditional release and/or final discharge or release subsequently ordered by this Court, the Defendant shall be remanded to the custody of the Washington Department of Corrections to serve the prison term imposed separately in this cause.

         On December 2, 2009, Zamora was committed at WSH. In January 2010, WSH psychiatrists wrote a letter to "all interested parties" addressing the necessity of inpatient psychiatric care of Zamora and safety concerns. The letter states Zamora "has no current major mental illness that requires inpatient psychiatric treatment" and the patients and staff at WSH as well as the public and Zamora are "at risk of harm by continuing to house him at this facility, for no clinical reason."

Mr. Zamora currently presents with only diagnoses of substance abuse, severe character pathology, and threatening behavior stemming purely from his antisocial personality traits. He no longer needs inpatient psychiatric treatment, and in fact prolonged psychiatric hospitalization only serves to provide a less secure environment in which his antisocial acting-out behaviors are escalating.
Due to his complete lack of any active mental illness symptoms (such as symptoms of a psychotic disorder or a major mood disorder) and lack of need for inpatient level of psychiatric care, Mr. Zamora was decertified as of 12/28/09 [this means that in the opinion of his treating psychiatrists, he no longer met criteria for inpatient hospitalization as of that date]. Were it not for the fact that we lack the legal authority to discharge him, Mr. Zamora would have been discharged weeks ago. He would not meet criteria for civil commitment, since his homicidal threats stem from his personality disorder and not from any major mental illness, and so therefore were it not for his current order binding us from releasing him, he would not remain in the hospital for any psychiatric reason.
Mr. Zamora has no ongoing mental illness and, in our medical opinion, simply presents as a severely psychopathic individual (i.e. with antisocial and narcissistic personality disorder). He has had to be placed in a locked seclusion room since 12/31/09 because of repeatedly making homicidal threats towards Lakewood Police Officers [e.g. "I am a cop killer, don't you know that? I killed that bitch and I would do it a thousand more times. The Lakewood cop better watch out-if he comes back I will take care of him ([patient] made a gun sign with his hand)."] Also, Mr. Zamora was observed by staff studying a map of emergency evacuation routes for the building. . . .
. . . We have stationed hospital Security officers on the ward 24 hours a day, kept Mr. Zamora in seclusion and/or restraints continuously since 12/31/09, and we have also obtained the assistance of the Lakewood Police Department, with an armed Lakewood [Police Department] officer patrolling the grounds outside and inside the unit 24 hours a day since 12/31/09. ... Nevertheless, our hospital is simply not constructed with sufficient security.[2]

         2010 ...


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