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State v. Hand

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2

July 25, 2017

STATE OF WASHINGTON, Respondent,
v.
ANTHONY GENE HAND, Appellant.

          Maxa, A.C.J.

         Anthony Gene Hand appeals his convictions of first degree escape and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. The trial court initially found Hand incompetent to stand trial and ordered that Hand be committed to Western State Hospital (WSH) within 15 days for treatment to restore his competency. However, Hand remained in jail for 61 days after the court's deadline before being admitted to WSH. He then received restorative treatment and eventually regained competency. He subsequently was convicted of both charges in a bench trial on stipulated facts.

         Hand argues that (1) the excessive time he spent in jail waiting to receive restorative treatment violated his substantive due process rights, (2) the violation of his substantive due process rights constituted government misconduct that required the trial court to dismiss the charges against him under CrR 8.3(b), and (3) the violation of his substantive due process rights required the trial court to dismiss the charges against him even apart from CrR 8.3(b). Hand also submitted a statement of additional grounds (SAG) alleging ineffective assistance of counsel.

         We hold that although WSH's delay in admitting Hand for competency restoration treatment violated his substantive due process rights, dismissal was not required under CrR 8.3(b) because Hand cannot show that the delay in receiving restorative treatment prejudiced his right to a fair trial, and dismissal was not required for the due process violation apart from CrR 8.3(b). We also hold that Hand's SAG claims are too vague to consider.

         Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's denial of Hand's motion to dismiss, and we affirm his convictions.

         FACTS

         In September 2014, the State charged Hand with first degree escape. Hand was arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant on October 1. At the time of his booking, police found a baggie of methamphetamine in his waistband. The State then charged Hand with unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

         The trial court set Hand's bail at $30, 000 for the first degree escape charge and at $20, 000 for the unlawful possession of a controlled substance charge. Hand did not post bail and therefore remained confined in the county jail.

         On December 11, defense counsel requested a competency evaluation for Hand under RCW 10.77.060. The trial court granted the request and ordered that Hand be held in custody without bail pending the competency determination.

         An evaluation report dated December 18 concluded that Hand's symptoms interfered with his ability to communicate with his attorney and meaningfully assist in preparing his defense. Based on this report, the trial court on December 24 entered an order that Hand be committed to WSH for a maximum of 45 days to undergo evaluation and treatment to restore competency to proceed to trial. The order included instructions that "Western State Hospital shall admit Mr. Hand within 15 days of this order per Trueblood v. DSHS." Clerk's Papers (CP) at 32.

         Hand drafted a letter to the trial court dated January 19, 2015, 11 days after the court's commitment deadline. He pointed out that he was still in jail despite the deadline and suggested that his charges should be dismissed because of a due process violation or that the case be transferred to mental health court.

         On February 11, 34 days after the trial court's commitment deadline, Hand filed a motion to dismiss based on the violation of his substantive due process rights. The motion also sought, in the alternative, an order for WSH to show cause why it should not be held in contempt of the trial court's order. The court denied the motion to dismiss without prejudice. But the court ordered a show cause hearing for WSH to appear and show cause why it should not be held in contempt.

         In opposition to Hand's motion for contempt sanctions, WSH submitted a lengthy declaration from Dr. Barry Ward, the psychology services supervisor at WSH. Ward stated that when WSH received the trial court's commitment order, Hand was placed on a waiting list for admission because WSH did not have the ability to admit him for restorative treatment. He further stated that the unit handling restoration treatment services had been operating at near 100 percent occupancy for several years, and the current waiting list had approximately 113 defendants. The average waiting time for 45-day restoration cases was 71 days. Ward emphasized that the delay for forensic admissions was due to factors beyond WSH's control, including a significant increase in orders for inpatient evaluation or restoration and a decrease in the number of available beds.

         On February 18, Hand filed a new motion to dismiss that was substantially similar to his previous motion. And on February 25, Hand filed another motion to dismiss or in the alternative to release him from custody. That motion was substantially similar to his February 18 motion to dismiss, but added an alternative request that the trial court consider releasing Hand from custody so he could obtain his own treatment.

         At the show cause hearing on February 25, the trial court found the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)[1] in contempt of the court's December 24, 2014 order, imposed sanctions of $500 per day starting on February 26 to be paid to the county jail, and ordered that Hand be transported to WSH by February 26. Hand was not transferred to WSH by February 26.

         On March 4, the trial court heard arguments on the February 25 motion to dismiss or alternatively to release from custody. The court ruled that there was no due process violation and denied the motion to dismiss or to release from custody.

         WSH finally admitted Hand on March 10, 61 days after the 15-day deadline in the trial court's original commitment order. The trial court subsequently ordered DSHS to pay the county jail $6, 000 in sanctions ($500 per day for 12 days) for the delay in admitting Hand to WSH following the court's February 25 contempt order.

         WSH submitted a forensic mental health report regarding Hand to the trial court on April 28. The report stated that Hand was able to understand the nature of the proceedings against him and could assist in his defense with a reasonable degree of rational understanding. On April 29, the trial court found Hand competent to stand trial.

         On November 20, a bench trial was held on stipulated facts. The trial court found Hand guilty of first degree escape and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

         Hand appeals his convictions.

         ANALYSIS

         A. Commitment for Competency ...


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