TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Monday, November 26, 2018

WA: Dep't of Corrections Not Grossly Negligent In Case of Felon Killing Girlfriend

Last week, the Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Department of Corrections did not act grossly negligent in the supervision of a felon who killed his girlfriend.  The felon was a serial domestic abuser who killed his girlfriend 15 days after his release from prison (for punching the girlfriend) in October 2012.  The gross negligence standard, applicable to a governmental unit, was not met:

A Corrections Department victim liaison spoke with Patricelli four times before Miller’s release to ensure she had a safety plan in place, and Patricelli assured the liaison she was moving to a new residence, had no interest in seeing Miller and would call the police if she did, the opinion says.

“It turns out that Miller, his mother, and Patricelli herself lied to DOC about Miller’s living arrangements while on probation, the opinion states. “In fact, Patricelli had seen Miller, even though she said she had not. And Miller was not staying with his mother, despite his mother saying, in a signed document, that he was.

“Miller was actually living with Patricelli. But the only people who knew that fact were Patricelli, her daughters, their roommate, and Miller. And all of them were actively hiding the relationship from DOC and others.”

The News Tribune has the story.

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