WALLA WALLA — A Walla Walla County jury denied release to a sexually violent predator after prosecutors the Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Sexually Violent Predator Unit (SVP) proved that he remains mentally ill and sexually dangerous.
Justin Mackey, 42, was convicted of three counts of first-degree rape of a child in Walla Walla County in 1993. He was later convicted of third-degree child molestation in Walla Walla County in 2002. In 2008, Mackey was found to be a sexually violent predator and was committed to the state’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island, where he has remained in total confinement since that time.
“My team works hard to protect the public from individuals who continue to be sexually violent predators,” Ferguson said. “Public safety is a priority for my office.”
Washington’s SVP law allows the state Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to petition for and defend the civil commitment of violent sex offenders who, because of a mental abnormality and/or personality disorder, are proven likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if released.
Mackey was awarded an unconditional release trial, and argued that the State could no longer prove he currently meets the sexually violent predator definition. At trial, the AGO carried the burden of proving Mackey continues to currently suffer from a mental condition that makes him likely to commit predatory sexual crimes. The trial began Nov. 7 and concluded Nov. 18 with the jury’s verdict that the AGO had met its burden.
Assistant Attorneys General Hal Palmer and Josh Choate, Paralegal Martha Neumann and Legal Assistant Malia Anfinson handled the case for the state.
In 1990, Washington became the first state in the nation to pass a law permitting the involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders after they serve their criminal sentences. The AGO’s SVP Unit was established shortly thereafter.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson proposed and passed bipartisan legislation strengthening Washington’s SVP statute in 2015.
The AGO SVP unit is responsible for prosecuting sex predator cases for 38 of Washington’s 39 counties (King County being the exception). As of Nov. 1, 2022, 204 sexually violent predators are in the state’s Special Commitment Program.
Washington’s Attorney General serves the people and the state of Washington. As the state’s largest law firm, the Attorney General’s Office provides legal representation to every state agency, board, and commission in Washington. Additionally, the Office serves the people directly by enforcing consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental protection laws. The Office also prosecutes elder abuse, Medicaid fraud, and handles sexually violent predator cases in 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.firstname.lastname@example.org
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