Law

Law
4:22 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

GAO Finds Bergdahl Prisoner Swap Broke Federal Law

File image
AP Photo

The Pentagon broke the law when it swapped five members of the Taliban for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Idaho, according to the findings of an independent government investigation released Thursday.

The Government Accountability Office says officials should have given Congress 30 days' notice.

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Constitutional Rights
3:51 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Following Judge's Ruling, Changes On The Way For No-Fly List

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Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Changes are coming to the federal government's no-fly list, but it’s not yet clear what those changes will be.

It all stems from a ruling this summer by a federal judge in Portland. One of the plaintiffs was turned away from a flight after an airline agent said he was on the no-fly list. The man sued after he couldn't even get the government to confirm whether he was on the list, much less why.

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Legal Marijuana
4:09 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Wash. Attorney General: If You Like Legal Marijuana, Support Local Pot Bans

In this photo taken July 1, 2014, a one-gram packet of a variety of recreational marijuana named "Space Needle" is shown during packaging operations at Sea of Green Farms in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson has intervened in a lawsuit over whether local governments can keep marijuana businesses out. Ferguson says if you want pot to stay legal in Washington, you should want cities to be allowed to ban it.  

The city of Fife, like many others around Washington, has said it won’t allow pot businesses within city limits. A couple of would-be entrepreneurs sued the city to overturn the ban.

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Marijuana Legalization
4:13 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Oregon's Pot Legalization Supporters Kick Off Ad Campaign

Richard Harris is seen this screen grab from an online ad by Oregon's Yes on 91 campaign.

The campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon kicked off a multi-million dollar advertising effort Monday.

New Approach Oregon appears to be following the same tactic used by the successful legalization effort in Washington state. The strategy seems to be that if you want to legalize pot, find someone like Richard Harris to make your case. He's the former director of Addictions and Mental Health Services for the state of Oregon.

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Law
2:02 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Police Ask Public To 'Tweet Smart' During Ongoing Crises

In this instance, officers had already announced their presence over a loudspeaker. But authorities caution against giving too much real-time info when officers are responding to an emergency.
Ed Ronco KPLU

Local law enforcement agencies are asking the public to “Tweet Smart” and be careful how they use social media in an emergency. Their concern is that too much information about the real-time movements of police could put officers in danger. 

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Washington Supreme Court
12:54 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Legislature's Pension Cuts Were Legal, Wash. High Court Rules

Washington Supreme Court justices listen to arguments during a court hearing.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Washington state lawmakers acted legally when they cut pension benefits for teachers and other public employees in 2007 and 2011, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The two rulings, both reversing lower court decisions, carried high stakes for both sides. The pension cuts the high court upheld could save the state more than $10 billion over the next 25 years; an opposite ruling would've forced the Legislature to come up with that money.

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Psychiatric Care
11:57 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Washington Supreme Court Affirms Mental Health ‘Boarding’ Unlawful

File photo of the Washington Supreme Court chambers.
Cacophony Wikimedia Commons

The practice of "boarding" mental health patients in hospital emergency rooms is unlawful, the Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday.

The justices upheld a lower court ruling in the case of 10 psychiatric patients who were involuntarily detained under state law, then placed in non-psychiatric beds.

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Marijuana Advertising
4:55 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Seattle Sees First Marijuana Billboards, Gigantic Aerial Banner To Follow

Dama's billbaord in Lower Queen Anne doesn't show any cannabis.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Passersby in several Seattle neighborhoods might notice the benign-looking billboards picturing a fit young couple with backpacks atop a mountain, or a bearded, flannel-clad man in front of a tent. You have to look a little closer to notice that the billboards are doing something brand new: openly advertising a cannabis company.

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Law
2:40 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Accused Teen Killer In North Idaho Moved Back To Juvenile Detention

Eldon Samuel is charged with murdering his father and younger brother in Coeur d’Alene in March.
Kootenai County Sheriff's Office

A north Idaho teenager accused of killing his father and brother is no longer being held in solitary confinement at an adult county jail. A judge on Tuesday approved an agreement allowing 15-year-old Eldon Samuel to be moved back to juvenile detention, overriding a previous judge’s decision.

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AMBER Alert
9:31 am
Tue August 5, 2014

One Year After Idaho Rescue, AMBER Alerts Still Questioned

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Nati Harnik AP Photo

This week marks the one-year anniversary of a multi-state AMBER Alert involving a kidnapped California teenager.

A group of Idaho backcountry horsemen came across 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and her abductor James Lee DiMaggio last August. When the four horsemen got home, they saw the news of the kidnapping and called police. Anderson was ultimately rescued and DiMaggio was shot to death by a federal agent.

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Washington Supreme Court
5:22 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Jailed In Washington? You Have A Right To A Bail Bondsman

This file photo shows the Washington state Supreme Court in Olympia, Washington.
Cacophony Wikimedia Commons

You’ve heard of your Miranda rights, but did you know that most state constitutions also give you a right to a bail bondsman?

In a unanimous ruling Thursday, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed that criminal defendants can go to a third-party, like a bondsman, who will put up bail for a fee.

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Law
4:59 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Court Rules Against Families Of Wildland Firefighters Killed In 2003

Mark Ransdell was a 23-year-old contract firefighter who died in a fiery van crash in 2003.
Courtesy of the Ransdell family.

These days, you can often find contract firefighters on the front lines. They’re usually indistinguishable from government firefighters.

But a recent court ruling has made it clear: if they’re killed in the line of duty, their families are not eligible for federal survivor benefits.

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Disability Rights
5:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Judge Orders Medical School To Reinstate Deaf Student

Zach Featherstone with his wife and daughter
Provided by Zach Featherstone

A Northwest medical school has been ordered to reinstate a deaf student who took the school to court after it wouldn't let him begin classes.

As KPLU reported last month, Zachary Featherstone sued Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima after it admitted him, then wouldn’t let him attend. The university said his admission might harm the training of other students and put patients at risk.

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Law
6:29 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

ACLU Takes On Case Of Idaho Teen In Solitary Confinement

Eldon Samuel III is charged with murdering his father and younger brother in Coeur d’Alene in March.
Kootenai County Sheriff's Office

In north Idaho, a 15-year-old boy sits in an isolated jail cell awaiting trial for murder. Eldon Samuel III is accused of shooting to death his father and younger brother in March

Juveniles accused of crimes like this are automatically charged as adults in Idaho. But now, Samuel’s lawyer and the ACLU are trying to get him moved out of solitary confinement at the adult county jail. They say his isolation amounts to “cruel and unusual” punishment.

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Marijuana
4:33 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Do Homeless People Need A Place To Smoke Pot So They Don't Light Up In Public?

A committee has passed on a proposed ordinance to regulate the sale and distribution of medical marijuana.
Flickr

Of the 82 tickets Seattle police officers issued for public marijuana use in the first six months of this year, 38 of them — nearly half — went to people who were probably homeless.

For Seattle City Council member Nick Licata, that raises a question: Don't the economically-distressed need a place to go to smoke pot legally, without doing so in public?

"What we don't want to create is a situation where we literally are giving citations away to people that are going to end up having their record affected for engaging in activity that otherwise would be legal, except that it's just done outside," Licata said.

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