In re Det. of Belcher (Majority)Annotate this Case
In 2011, when he was 26 years old, Troy Belcher was civilly committed as a sexually violent predator. In 2015, the superior court ordered that he continue to be indefinitely committed, based on two sexually violent crimes he perpetrated as a juvenile, a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder with high levels of psychopathy, and a finding that he was more likely than not to recommit if released. The Washington Supreme Court has held that juvenile offenses may be predicate offenses when an adult has committed a more recent sexually overt act. However, the had not yet ruled on whether commitment can be continued using juvenile crimes as the sole predicate offenses. Belcher argued commitment under this act violates due process because it has the potential to permanently confine a person for a juvenile offense. However, because of the robust commitment procedure, confining individuals only so long as they are a danger to society, the Supreme Court disagreed. The Court held juvenile convictions could be predicate offenses for continued commitment proceedings under RCW 71.09.090. Furthermore, a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder is sufficient for a finding of mental abnormality under the statute, and that the use of an actuarial tool grounded in both sexual and nonsexual offenses does not violate due process when applied to a sexually violent offender.