Law

Law & Justice
12:03 pm
Tue March 22, 2011

Are drug courts working?

Magistrate Gordon M. Smith presides over drug court in Providence, Rhode Island, June 2007.
AP

Drug courts have long been viewed as a success.  The courts give drug offenders charged with non-violent crimes the option of treatment rather than prison.

The courts, including those in Washington State, have proven effective in reducing repeat offenses. But some critics say too much money is being poured into drug courts.

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Washington State Legislature
2:48 am
Tue March 22, 2011

Hoquiam senator single-handedly stops child rape bill

State lawmakers have heard tearful pleas this legislative session from victims of child rape who advocate the statute of limitations be eliminated. A bill with that provision passed unanimously in the state House recently. But it appears destined for oblivion because a state Senate chairman won’t hear the bill.

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State Budget Crisis
8:12 am
Fri March 18, 2011

Partisan divide flares as state budget worsens

Washington's budget shortfall has grown to more than $5 billion. That's after Thursday's state revenue forecast. Advocates on the left immediately intensified their calls for lawmakers to end corporate tax exemptions. The Governor warned the legislature to avoid budget gimmicks.

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Washington State Legislature
11:01 am
Thu March 17, 2011

Marijuana legalization debate produces unusual alliances

The debate over legalizing marijuana in Washington is producing some unusual alliances. At a legislative hearing Wednesday, lawmakers heard from the wife of Canada's so-called "Prince of Pot." And from the former federal prosecutor who indicted him.

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Law & Justice
8:25 am
Thu March 17, 2011

FBI document reveals Spokane backpack bomb was radio-controlled

An FBI document details the steel pipe bomb found in a backpack in Spokane on Martin Luther King Day.
PublicIntelligence.org

The backpack bomb found along the route of Spokane’s Martin Luther King Day Parade was supposed to be triggered remotely using a car alarm receiver. That’s according to a newly uncovered FBI document.

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Crime
6:11 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

$10,000 in equipment stolen from Habitat for Humanity in Tacoma

Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity reports thieves broke into a work site Tuesday night in Tacoma, stealing more than $10,000 worth of equipment and building materials. The thieves had to cut through chains securing the project, a development called Founders Circle. Six homes are being built for low income families on the site at 1102 South Shirley Street.

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Law & Justice
9:55 am
Tue March 15, 2011

Prosecutors seek death penalty in murder of prison guard

Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe says he'll seek the death penalty if Byron Scherf is convicted of aggravated murder in the death of Monroe prison Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl.

In announcing his decision Tuesday in Everett, Roe said jurors "should have the opportunity of imposing the ultimate punishment if they see fit."

Biendl was strangled Jan. 29 in the prison chapel.

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Medical clinic protests
6:13 pm
Mon March 14, 2011

Justice Department sues anti-abortion activist

Federal prosecutors have filed a lawsuit to prevent an anti-abortion protester from blocking access to a medical clinic in Lynnwood.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice complaint, John C. Kroack walked into a Lynnwood health clinic on Jan. 7, 2010, became agitated as he talked about abortion and tried to force his way into one of the exam rooms. Prosecutors say a nurse had to hold her body against the door to keep him from breaking it down.

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Law & Justice
3:44 am
Mon March 14, 2011

State releases disciplinary records for inmate charged with murder

We’re learning more about the Washington prison inmate charged with killing a female correctional officer in January.  Prison disciplinary records were obtained for Byron Scherf. They show two major violations, but not for hurting others.

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Spokane Backpack Bomb
8:11 am
Fri March 11, 2011

Suspect in bomb case expressed Neo-Nazi views as “Joe Snuffy”

This week Northeast Washington learned one of its residents is suspected of being a Neo-Nazi terrorist. The FBI arrested 36-year-old Kevin Harpham for allegedly planting a bomb in a backpack along the route of Spokane's Martin Luther King Day Parade. Harpham is now being held at the Spokane County Jail.

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Law & Justice
7:57 am
Thu March 10, 2011

FBI arrests man with Neo-Nazi ties in Spokane bomb case

FBI evidence photo of backpack found on a downtown Spokane street corner bench
FBI

The FBI has arrested a man with Neo-Nazi ties in connection with the attempted bombing on Martin Luther King Day in Spokane. Agents arrested the man in rural Stevens County.

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State Labor Unions
7:05 am
Thu March 10, 2011

Republicans want governor to renegotiate labor contracts

It's not quite Wisconsin, but Republicans – and a lone Democrat - in Washington are taking a jab at state employee unions. They've introduced legislation to not fund union contracts negotiated by the governor.

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Crime
5:05 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

Murder, car thefts at historic lows in Seattle

Seattle Police Department Sgt. Sean Whitcomb holds a sign meant to be placed in cars to deter thieves.
Paula Wissel

The homicide rate in Seattle is at its lowest level since 1958.  Most other major crime is down as well.

Murder, rape, robbery and other violent crime was down 9 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. The 2010 crime statistics were released Tuesday by the Seattle Police Department. As KPLU reported, the  Seattle Police Department has also released a report showing that the use of force by officers is rare and below the national average.

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Shark Fin Soup
10:51 am
Tue March 8, 2011

Lawmakers want to take shark fin soup off menus

West Coast lawmakers want to take shark fin soup off restaurant menus. The Washington, Oregon and California Legislatures are all considering measures to criminalize the trade in shark fins.

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Washington State Legislature
8:24 am
Tue March 8, 2011

Immigration check for driver’s licenses appears unlikely

Washington could soon be the last state in the nation to issue driver’s licenses without an immigration check. A controversial proposal in Olympia to create a two-tier license system appears to have died. Senate Republicans failed to force a vote just before a key legislative cut-off.

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