Judge tosses charges against man due to Western State delay

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) — A Kitsap County District Court judge has dismissed two impaired driving charges against a mentally ill man who sat in solitary confinement for nearly 50 days awaiting treatment so he could stand trial.

The Kitsap Sun reported Sunday that Judge Jeff Jahns said in a ruling earlier this month that the delay at Western State Hospital violated the Barry Weger’s due process rights.

Weger’s sentence had he been convicted likely would have been shorter than 50 days.

Western State is under order to complete or admit defendants within seven, 14 or 21 days, depending on the type of services needed.

Jahns compared the delays to police wrongdoing.

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services spokeswoman Kelly Stowe said in an email that the lengthy delays are due to many factors that are outside of Western State Hospital’s control.