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October 22, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Judge: March trial for mentally ill in jails case

The Associated Press

SEATTLE — A federal judge set a March trial date for a lawsuit filed on the behalf of mentally ill inmates who are waiting weeks to months for competency evaluations and treatment.

Before deciding on a date, U.S. District Chief Judge Marsha Pechman repeatedly asked the disability rights lawyers whether the wait list issue could be decided with a summary judgment. She said if everyone agrees on the fact that mentally ill people are held in jails for long periods, the issue of whether their constitutional rights are being violated would be easy to decide.

The lawyers had asked Pechman two weeks ago for a restraining order to force the state to fix the waitlist problem, but she said she needed more information and would consider a speedy trail. In response, the lawyers asked for January and the Attorney General’s office said April would be better. Pechman chose March 16.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: mentally ill, U.S. District Court

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