Competency/ Insanity 


Competency and insanity evaluations, hearings, procedures. Wash. Rev. Code §§ 10.77.010 through 10.77.950 (all of Chapter 10.77). 

Whenever a defendant has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, or there is reason to doubt his or her competency, the court must appoint a qualified expert or professional person, who shall be approved by the prosecuting attorney, to evaluate and report upon the mental condition of the defendant. Wash. Rev. Code § 10.77.060



Special Rules

Representation of witnesses: A victim who is incapacitated or otherwise incompetent shall be represented by a parent or present legal guardian, or if none exists, by a representative designated by the prosecuting attorney without court appointment or legal guardianship proceedings. Wash. Rev. Code § 7.69.040

Accommodations: “Dependent persons” (includes I/DD) are afforded particular rights including: having language explained to them, allowing advocate to be present in court, etc. Wash. Rev. Code § 7.69B.020

Witnesses: The court may allow a dependent person’s testimony to be videotaped if the moving party shows that it is likely that the dependent person will be unavailable to testify at a subsequent trial. The court's finding shall be based upon, at a minimum, recommendations from the dependent person's physician or any other person having direct contact with the dependent person and whose recommendations are based on specific behavioral indicators exhibited by the dependent person. Wash. Rev. Code § 7.69B.030



Death Penalty 

In no case shall a person be sentenced to death if the person had an intellectual disability at the time the crime was committed. A diagnosis of intellectual disability shall be documented by a licensed psychiatrist or licensed psychologist designated by the court, who is an expert in the diagnosis and evaluation of intellectual disabilities. The defense must establish an intellectual disability by a preponderance of the evidence and the court must make a finding as to the existence of an intellectual disability. "Intellectual disability" means the individual has: (i) Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning; (ii) existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior; and (iii) both significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning and deficits in adaptive behavior were manifested during the developmental period. "General intellectual functioning" means the results obtained by assessment with one or more of the individually administered general intelligence tests developed for the purpose of assessing intellectual functioning. "Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning" means intelligence quotient seventy or below.  Wash. Rev. Code § 10.95.030


Intake standards for juveniles: on intake, juveniles should be evaluated to determine detention is warranted, whether the juvenile is developmentally disabled, and if detention is warranted, whether the juvenile should be placed in secure, nonsecure, or home detention to implement the goals of this section. Wash. Rev. Code § 13.40.040