Law

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales
2:47 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Military death penalty cases are rare

There are 8 men on military death row in Leavenworth, Kansas.
U.S. Disciplinary Barracks

The Army has announced it will seek the death penalty against Joint Base Lewis McChord soldier Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.

Currently, there are 8 men awaiting execution on military death row in Leavenworth, Kansas. Some have been there for decades.

Washington District Court Judge Jack Nevin, of Tacoma, is a retired Brigadier General who was Chief Judge of the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals. He also teaches a class on military law at Seattle University Law School.

KPLU Law and Justice Reporter Paula Wissel interviewed Nevin about the differences between  military and civilian death penalty cases.

(Click on listen button above to hear the radio interview.)

Drug abuse
5:21 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Teen marijuana use up

More teens are getting high on marijuana.  According to a national survey, high school kids are also less likely than in previous years to see marijuana use as harmful.

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Afghan Civilian Killing
2:32 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Army will seek death penalty against Washington soldier

High Desert Warrior

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 4:01 pm

The top forces commander at Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord has decided to seek the death penalty against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. He’s the 39-year old soldier accused of murdering 16 Afghan civilians earlier this year.

Bales is accused of conducting two predawn raids on villages in southern Afghanistan. The victims were mostly women and children and the Army says some of the bodies were burned. Prosecutors had asked for a death penalty trial and top commanders at Lewis-McChord agreed.

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Emergency response
3:53 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Coming soon: 9-1-1 via text, but is it a good idea?

Gabriel Spitzer

If you're faced with a serious emergency, chances are you'll pick up the phone and call 9-1-1. But how about sending a text message instead?  It’s not something 9-1-1 operators can handle now. But, that could soon change.

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State Taxes
10:23 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Gregoire proposes taxes for schools

Austin Jenkins

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 4:20 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Outgoing Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is proposing to extend two temporary taxes for three-and-a-half years in order to make a $1 billion down payment on a recent Supreme Court ruling that found the state is not adequately funding public schools. Much of that new money would go to reduce K-2 class sizes, speed up the phase-in of all-day kindergarten and help districts with basic operating and maintenance costs.

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Distracted driving
4:35 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Do you text while you drive? You're not alone.

A car involved in a fatal "texting and driving" accident. The Washington State Patrol takes the car to high schools in the state as part of an education campaign.
Paula Wissel

Have you ever been tempted to respond to a text message while you’re behind the wheel?

Texting while driving is illegal in Washington state, but the practice is common enough that the state plans to launch a full scale campaign against it along the lines of the “Click it or Ticket” campaign that promotes seat belt use.

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marijuana legalization
10:15 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Public marijuana: No tickets in Seattle, but maybe elsewhere

Ben shows off his glass bong in front of Seattle Center's International Fountain, on the evening of Dec. 6th, when marijuana possession became legal -- although not in public.
Keith Seinfeld kplu

 (Updated at 10pm)

In Seattle, you're more likely to get a parking ticket than a marijuana smoking ticket.

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same-sex marriage
6:33 am
Thu December 6, 2012

First marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in Washington

Jane Abbott Lighty and Pete-e Petersen receive the first marriage licenses issued by King County to a same-sex couple
Paula Wissel

In King County, the first marriage license to a same-sex couple was issued at exactly 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

People cheered as King County Executive Dow Constantine counted down and  declared, "Happy Marriage Equality Day."

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Marriage equality
3:54 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

King County prepares for midnight rush on same sex marriage licenses

Cameron Satterfield, spokesman for King County Records describes preparations for the issuance of marriage licenses beginning at midnight.
Paula Wissel

Same sex marriage becomes legal in Washington at midnight tonight.  King County is pulling out all the stops to accommodate the hundreds of couples expected to show up at twelve to get marriage licenses.

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Marijuana legalization
7:04 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Wash. Liquor Board Has One Year To Catch Up To Pot Legalization

Drug Enforcement Agency

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:53 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Pot becomes legal in Washington on Thursday. But state officials have not even begun to write the complicated rules for who can grow it, process it and sell. That year-long process begins Wednesday.

By the end of this week, adult possession of up to one ounce of usable marijuana will no longer be a crime in Washington. But Initiative 502 -- approved by voters in November -- does much more than decriminalize possession. It requires the state to license and regulate marijuana producers, processors and retailers.

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Out of work
5:33 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Unemployed workers to be pushed off their own 'fiscal cliff'

thinkprogress.org

Up to 60,000 people in Washington will lose their unemployment benefits at the end of the month. That’s because a federal  program, called Emergency Unemployment Compensation, is set to expire.

The federal government has often been on the verge of cutting off extended unemployment benefits only to renew them at the last minute.  Since the recession hit, the U.S. Congress has voted 10 times to continue the extended benefits program.

But Sherlyl Hutchison, spokeswoman for the Washington’s Employment Security Department, says there’s no indication that will happen this time.

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City news
10:42 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Dump truck hits woman on bicycle in Seattle

A woman riding a bicycle was hit by a dump truck and dragged at a downtown Seattle intersection.

Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore says the 25-year-old woman was wearing a helmet. She was in pain but able to talk to medics who took her to Harborview Medical Center.

The driver remained at the scene for police.

Youth violence
3:42 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Strange alliance: Gun foes agree kids, illegal guns don't mix

The proposed law would put a teen behind bars for 10 days on the first gun offense.
Internet persona Flickr

In a rare show of solidarity, gun control and gun rights groups are joining forces to pass tougher gun laws for juvenile offenders in Washington. 

At a news conference with King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, representatives of Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Washington CeaseFire spoke in favor of proposed legislation that would require juveniles convicted of illegal gun possession to be locked up on the first offense.

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Law
10:50 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Tougher laws in store for criminals in Northwest tribes

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 5:27 pm

A tribal court on the Umatilla Indian Reservation is one of the first to hand-down a long prison term under new tougher criminal sentencing laws enacted by Congress in 2010.

It used to be that tribes could only sentence a Native American criminal to up to one year of jail time -- no matter the crime. Typically the U.S. Justice Department was called in for everything else -– but many cases were dropped.

Now, tribal courts have the power to sentence native criminals who commit crimes on a reservation up to three years per count, for up to nine years.

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Marriage equality
4:10 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Update: New marriage forms let you choose 'spouse'

As many same-sex couples prepare for marriage, state agencies are working fast to be ready for them.
Gary Davis KPLU

Update from the Washington Department of Health:

Revisions to Washington’s marriage certificate to conform with the new same-sex marriage law gives couples a full range of options — gender-neutral or gender-specific terms. The new form has been sent to local auditors around the state. The form is effective December 6 when the law takes effect. Marriage certificates are filed after the marriage.

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