Law

Juvenile crime
5:32 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

Teens with illegal guns get off easy

A teenager caught with an illegal gun in Washington gets little more than a slap on the wrist.  That’s the complaint of prosecutors who are trying to stiffen the penalty.

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Tax Exemptions
1:56 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

Lawmakers take stand on urban-to-rural tax flow


Democrats in the Washington House of Representatives have a "One Washington" mantra. But a couple of Western Washington lawmakers are testing that East-West unity. Their issue? The flow of state tax dollars that go over the mountains.

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Crime
6:11 am
Tue February 1, 2011

Questions linger over prison guard's killing


Governor Chris Gregoire has ordered flags to fly at half-staff in memory of a slain prison correctional officer. Gregoire has also initiated an outside review of the murder of Officer Jayme Biendl over the weekend.

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Law & Justice
7:48 am
Thu January 27, 2011

More learned about man who threatened Gregoire

A man who says he was upset over losing state benefits has been arrested and charged with making threats against Governor Chris Gregoire and her family. 51-year-old Robert Ray Locke was arraigned on one count of felony threat and pleaded not guilty.

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License Debate
10:50 am
Wed January 26, 2011

Gregoire supports citizenship checks for driver's licenses

Governor Chris Gregoire says she supports citizenship checks for driver's licenses. Washington is one of the last states in the nation that still issues driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Gregoire says ending that practice is a matter of national security:

"The job of being governor has changed dramatically since I came into office in 2005 and security has become one of the top priorities for every governor in this country."

There are several proposals in the legislature to require the Department of Licensing to confirm an applicant's "legal presence" in the country. Gregoire says if the legislature sends her a bill, she’ll sign it.

The governor's statement comes after a public radio report earlier this week on the issue. 

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Seattle Police
5:06 pm
Tue January 25, 2011

Seattle high school students plan walkout over police conduct

Some Seattle high school students plan to walk out of class tomorrow, Wednesday, as part of a protest against police brutality and misconduct.  They plan to rally at Victor Steinbrueck Park near Pike Place Market at 1 p.m.

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Civil rights legislation
11:32 am
Tue January 25, 2011

Seattle expands definition of service animal

Miniature horses can be trained to assist people who are blind. The Guide Horse Program says the animals perform many of the tasks seeing-eye dogs do.
guidehorse.org

When you think of a service animal, you probably think of a dog sitting next to someone who’s blind.  But under new civil rights legislation in Seattle,  the city defines " service animal” as:

"any animal a doctor deems medically necessary."

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Law & Justice
11:05 am
Tue January 25, 2011

King County to pay $10 million in case of mistaken identity

This surveillance video outside the Cinerama Theatre in downtown Seattle captures the moment Christopher Harris was slammed into a theater wall by a deputy working for Metro Transit last May.
MJDArv YouTube.com

King County has agreed to pay $10 million to a man who suffered a catastrophic brain injury when a sheriff's deputy slammed him into a concrete wall after a chase in Seattle.

Christopher Harris ran from deputies who mistook him for a suspect in a fight on in May 2009. After a couple of blocks, Harris stopped, and a deputy knocked him 8 feet into a concrete wall, head first.

Harris eventually emerged from a coma but can't walk or talk. The 30-year-old is expected to need round-the-clock care for the rest of his life.

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State Budget
7:30 am
Tue January 25, 2011

Education vs. social services? House debates funding priorities

Students at Salmon Bay School in Seattle. The house voted to cut $42 million from programs to reduce class sizes in grades K-4.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Lawmakers face stark choices when it comes to the budget. Those choices were on display Monday as the House voted on a cost-cutting bill. Democrats and Republicans split over what to cut next: education or social services.

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Kitsap County
6:58 am
Mon January 24, 2011

Shooting outside Port Orchard Walmart leaves two dead, two deputies injured

Updated Monday, Jan. 24th, 7:01 a.m.

A man and a young woman were killed in a shooting incident outside a Walmart store in Port Orchard Sunday afternoon. Two Kitsap County Sheriff deputies were injured, and are reported in satisfactory condition late Sunday evening, according to the Kitsap Sun.

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State Law
9:45 am
Fri January 21, 2011

Reforms to state's medical marijuana system up for debate

Some state lawmakers are proposing major changes to Washington's voter-approved medical marijuana system. 

Associated Press reporter Curt Woodward describes a packed meeting yesterday of the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee, which was discussing Senate Bill 5073, proposed by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle. It would give medical marijuana users more protections against arrest than they currently have. 

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John T. Williams shooting
4:15 pm
Thu January 20, 2011

Inquest jury split over questions about Seattle police shooting

Four of eight jurors in a coroner's inquest say woodcarver John T. Williams didn't have enough time to put down his knife before he was shot and killed by Seattle police Officer Ian Birk.

Only one juror found Williams had time to put down the knife. The other three answered "unknown." Thursday's conclusions are only findings of fact by the jury, which did not have to be unanimous. 

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Elections
11:06 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Washington could become all vote-by-mail state

A voter drops an absentee ballot into a collection box
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Washington would become an all vote-by-mail state under a bill being considered by a State Senate committee.

Pierce County is the last in the state that still allows polling places and some of the county’s voters want to keep it that way.

Lakewood resident Erika Cranmer testified that she has not missed an election since she became an American citizen in 1951. The German native told lawmakers she does not trust vote-by-mail:

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Metro Transit
2:54 pm
Wed January 19, 2011

Lawsuit over Metro bus ad

This is the ad the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign was set to place on Metro buses in December, 2010. King County decided not to allow the ad and is now the target of a lawsuit.
ACLU Legal Exhibit

King County is being sued over its refusal to allow a controversial ad on Metro buses. The advertisement, sponsored by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, reads:  “Israeli War Crimes.Your Tax Dollars at Work.”

County officials originally agreed to the ad in December, but changed their mind when news of the campaign sparked international criticism and concerns about violence.

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John T. Williams shooting
2:22 pm
Tue January 18, 2011

Woodcarver's brother testifies at inquest

Rick Williams, brother of the native woodcarver shot by a Seattle policeman last August, testifies at an inquest, January 18, 2011 in Seattle. This image is a screen grab from KING-TV video.
KING-TV

The brother of the woodcarver killed by a Seattle policeman testified today during the inquest into the shooting. Much of the testimony during the inquest has centered on whether John T. William’s knife was open or closed at the time he was shot by Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk, who has testified he feared the woodcarver was about to attack him.

On the stand today, John T. Williams older brother Rick told jurors he and his brother were taught by their father to close their knives when they talked to people. Linda Byron of KING 5 News writes:

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