Paula Wissel

Law & Justice Reporter

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KPLU since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KPLU, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.

Paula's most memorable moment at KPLU: “Interviewing NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr about his ability to put current events in historical context. It’s something I aspire to.”

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U.S. Immigration Law
5:00 am
Tue May 27, 2014

This Man May Be Deported To Cambodia Before He Can Give His Brother A Kidney

Touch Hak poses with his daughter.
Courtesy of the Hak family.

A man being held in the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma could help save his brother’s life by giving him a kidney.

But that won’t happen if the U.S. goes forward with plans to deport the man to Cambodia, a country he left as a baby. The case shines a light on what some consider the U.S.'s overly harsh deportation policies.

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Seattle Police
10:06 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Murray Nominates Boston's First Female Police Commissioner As New SPD Chief

Former Boston police commissioner Kathleen O'Toole left, speaks after being introduced by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, right, as his nominee to be Seattle's new Chief of Police, Monday, May 19, 2014, in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has nominated former Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole as new chief of the Seattle Police Department. 

If confirmed by the Seattle City Council, O’Toole would be the department’s first female chief.

Murray has said he wants someone who can “reform and change the culture” on the force and “restore the respect of the community.”

"We can be a national model for urban policing, and Kathleen O'Toole is the right choice to lead us there," Murray said Monday. 

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Transit Funding
9:57 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Seattle Mayor Proposes Sales Tax, Car Tab Fee Hikes To Preserve Bus Service

File image
Joe Polimeni/ General Motors/AP Photo

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wants Seattle voters to approve both tax and fee increases to pay to keep buses running in the city and to and from the suburbs.

Murray on Tuesday announced a proposed $60 car tab increase and a sales tax increase to buy bus service back from King County Metro. Metro has said bus service will be cut this fall after the state Legislature did not find more money for transit and King County voters defeated a tax increase.

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Illness
3:18 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Sudden Rise In Pesticide-Related Illnesses In Eastern Washington

Washington health officials say there has been a sudden rise in pesticide-related illnesses in eastern Washington orchards. 

Kelly Stowe with the Washington State Department of Health says at least 60 people have been affected by pesticide drift since March.

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Consumer Protection
4:30 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Wash. State Seeks Money For Consumers Who Paid Inflated Prices For TVs, Laptops

You could eventually be getting money back for that flat screen TV you paid too much for a decade ago.

That’s the goal of a long-running pric- fixing suit against the manufacturers who make LCD display screens for everything, from televisions to laptops.

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Metro Bus Cuts
9:24 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Would Seattle Transit Initiative Prompt State Lawmakers To Expand Bus Service?

Jennifer Wing

Some state lawmakers who are supporting a Seattle initiative to undo King County Metro bus cuts say it could give them some bargaining power in Olympia.

State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, is one of eight Democratic lawmakers who’ve signed on as endorsers of the so-called Keep Seattle Moving Initiative.

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May Day
9:40 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

May Day Grand Jury Resister 'Still Has Nightmares' About Solitary Confinement

Matthew Duran spent nearly 6 months in the Federal Detention Center at Sea-Tac.
Paula Wissel KPLU

The May Day violence that happened in downtown Seattle two years ago is still affecting how one Olympia man is living his life.  Matthew Duran, a political activist, wasn’t even in Seattle when windows were smashed in the Nakamura Federal Courthouse in 2012. But he paid dearly for his refusal to talk about who might have been involved.

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May Day
9:40 am
Wed April 30, 2014

May Day Grand Jury Resister 'Still Has Nightmares' About Solitary Confinement

Matthew Duran spent nearly 6 months in the Federal Detention Center at Sea-Tac.r
Paula Wissel KPLU

The May Day violence that happened in downtown Seattle two years ago is still affecting how one Olympia man is living his life.  Matthew Duran, a political activist, wasn’t even in Seattle when windows were smashed in the Nakamura Federal Courthouse in 2012. But he paid dearly for his refusal to talk about who might have been involved.

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Oso Slide
4:56 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Trying To Help Slide Victims? Beware Of Disaster Relief Fraud

In this Wednesday, April 16, 2014, photo, a flag hangs on one of two buildings pushed together near the edge of the massive deadly mudslide that hit the community of Oso, Wash., on March 22, 2014.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Think twice before clicking on a link soliciting money for victims of the March 22 mudslide that has claimed 41 lives. U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan says fraud is always a problem as people begin to recover from a disaster. 

Durkan and Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe are urging anyone who is aware of disaster relief fraud to call the toll-free National Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721, send an email to disaster@leo.gov.

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Liquor Law
4:30 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Stores With High Shoplifting Rate Could Lose Liquor License Under New State Law

Steve Helber AP Photo

Grocery store owners who are losing liquor to shoplifters could pay a hefty price. Under a new law that takes effect June 13, the state can take away the store's license to sell liquor.

The crack down is aimed at keeping liquor out of the hands of underage drinkers.

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Life Behind Bars
10:34 am
Tue April 15, 2014

How Meditation Is Changing Monroe's Maximum-Security Inmates

Justin Steyer KPLU

Seven maximum-security inmates sit in a room with their eyes closed, not making a sound.

Shackles bind their hands and feet, confining them to a metal chair bolted to the ground. A guard stands nearby. Yells and clanks from the hallway stray in through the open door.

This is what meditation class at the Monroe Correctional Complex looks like. The students, murderer and rapists among them, listen as volunteer teacher Cathy Iacobazzi walks them through a practice session. 

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Labor Practices
4:24 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Hearing Set For T-Mobile Workers' Unfair Labor Practice Claims

Mark Lennihan AP Photo

The union that has been trying to organize T-Mobile workers says a recent action by the federal government will boost its efforts.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ordered the various labor complaints against the telecom giant to be consolidated into one case.

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Juvenile Justice
4:50 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Washington To Seal Juvenile Court Records

.v1ctor Casale Flickr

If you were charged with shoplifting or another minor criminal offense as a teenager, you shouldn’t have to pay for it for the rest of your life.

That’s the reasoning behind a bill being signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee. The law will seal the court records for most juvenile offenders.

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Drunk Driving
6:17 am
Tue March 25, 2014

On Anniversary Of DUI Crash In Seattle, Memorial Walk Held To Honor Victims

Dan and Karina Schulte are seen with their son, Elias, on March 24, 2013—one day before the accident.
Schulte Family

It was one year ago that repeat drunk driver Mark Mullan crashed into a family crossing a street in north Seattle, killing Judy and Dennis Schulte and critically injuring  their daughter-in-law, Karina, and newborn grandson, Elias.

The tragedy prompted the Washington Legislature to pass tougher drunk driving laws. 

On the anniversary of the crash on Wednesday, a crowd gathered for a walk and rally in memory of Judy and Dennis Schulte. 

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Legal Marijuana
12:54 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

ACLU Report Shows Sharp Drop In Pot Charges In Wash. State After Legalization

ACLU

You might assume that after voters passed Initiative 502, making adult possession of marijuana legal, the number of prosecutions for pot would drop. Now, there’s proof to back up that assumption.

The American Civil Liberties Union analyzed court data from around the state, looking specifically at filings for low-level marijuana offenses. The numbers show a huge decrease.

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