SPOKANE -- Kevin Coe's fight for freedom is costing Washington tax payers big money. Coe's lawyers want a new trial. A jury committed the rapist to McNeil Island for life in 2008.
It cost more than $1 million in attorney’s fees just to civilly commit Coe three years ago after he served a 25 year sentence for rape. His fight to overturn that decision is only costing tax payers more.
The Washington State Attorney General's Office argued to commit Kevin Coe to McNeil Island in 2008, saying Coe is a sexually violent predator and his release from custody would present a severe danger to the public, especially women. But Coe disagreed. He said it his legal right to fight that claim at the expense of the tax payer.
Thousands of dollars are funding hundreds of pages of research filed to support and deny that Coe is a sexually violent predator. As of Wednesday, tax payers have spent $39,000 alone just for prosecutors to keep up with Coe's appeal. As for Coe's public defenders, it is estimated to be about the same.
But the state will not release exactly how that money is being spent until Coe and his lawyers are give a ten day notice. During those ten days, they can ask the court to deny or block release of this information.
The Department of Social and Health Services, who pays the bill, said any specific information could reveal a lawyers strategy. That strategy is not public information while a case is being argued. However, DSHS officials said in a state such as Washington, an attempt to block information is rarely upheld.
Sometime in the next year a judge will decide whether to overturn Coe's commitment. If it is overturned, there will be a new trial on his civil commitment.