OLYMPIA — Prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Unit are in Thurston County Superior Court, fighting to prevent a dangerous sex offender from being conditionally released into the community. The trial begins today and is expected to continue for approximately two weeks.
Johnny Davis, 34, has been convicted of multiple sex offenses against children, dating back to 1996. In January 2009, the court found Johnny Davis to be a Sexually Violent Predator and civilly committed him to the state’s Special Commitment Center. In the interest of public safety, SVP prosecutors are seeking to prevent his conditional release to the community as a less restrictive alternative to commitment in the Center.
Washington’s Sexually Violent Predator law allows the Attorney General’s Office 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.
The lead attorneys in this case are Assistant Attorneys General Sean Waite and Tom Howe.
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 Attorney General’s SVP unit was established shortly thereafter.
The SVP unit is responsible for prosecuting sex predator cases for 38 of Washington’s 39 counties (King County being the exception). So far this fiscal year, the unit has tried 15 cases and has won 10 civil commitments. Two trials ended in hung juries (meaning the offender remains detained pending a new trial), and three trials involved an offender who was found by the jury to not meet the criteria to be committed as a sexually violent predator.
As of September 2017, 273 sexually violent predators are in the state’s Special Commitment Program.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Brionna Aho, Interim Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; firstname.lastname@example.org