Law

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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Crime
5:24 pm
Wed January 12, 2011

Arrest made in threats against Rep. McDermott

The FBI says a Palm Springs, Calif., man accused of making threatening, obscene phone calls to the office of U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott  last month told authorities he never intended to hurt anyone.

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John T. Williams shooting
7:48 am
Mon January 10, 2011

Inquest begins into shooting of Seattle woodcarver

Tribal members gather at the Chief Seattle Club in Pioneer Square last September to call for accountability in the police shooting death of native carver John T. Williams.
KPLU/Bellamy Pailthorp

King County's inquest into the death of native woodcarver John T. Williams at the hands of a Seattle policeman is expected to last all week. The fact-finding work will review last August's shooting, and will determine whether prosecutors bring any charges against Officer Ian Birk.

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State Supreme Court
12:29 pm
Fri January 7, 2011

Wiggins sworn in as newest justice

Charlie Wiggins takes the oath as he becomes Washington's newest supreme court justice, Jan. 7, 2010, in Olympia, Wash.
TVW image

The state's newest Supreme Court justice was sworn in Friday afternoon. Charlie Wiggins defeated incumbent Justice Richard Sanders by just 13,000 votes in November's election. 

The Bainbridge Island attorney challenged Sanders, who had served three terms, and who was sometimes the center of controversy. 

Gene Johnson of the Associated Press covered today's swearing in, and the Wiggins-Sanders race last fall:

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Law
7:54 am
Thu January 6, 2011

Traffic court getting tougher for speeders?

If you challenge a speeding ticket in traffic court, you’ve had a good chance of getting it thrown out in recent years.  That’s because prosecutors in western Washington have been cutting their budgets and prioritizing for bigger crimes. 

Prosecutors have been absent from traffic court for at least five years, according to The Seattle Times.  At the urging of presiding King County District Court judge Barbara Linde, that's changing. 

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Gang prevention
9:54 am
Tue January 4, 2011

McKenna: Restraining Orders Against Gangs

A victim of domestic violence can seek a restraining order against an abusive spouse.  But how about allowing a city to get a restraining order against a street gang?

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Law
6:38 pm
Wed December 29, 2010

Tax hikes take effect in Washington January 1st

In the new year, Washington state is raising taxes. But you'll need sharp eyes to notice where.  Lawmakers have hiked and expanded a telephone tax to support 911 service.

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Government Reform
5:35 am
Thu December 23, 2010

Lawsuit payouts spiking as state budget crumbles

Attorney General Rob Mckenna
John Froschauer AP

The amount of money the state pays out in lawsuits has doubled in the last four years to more than $50 million dollars a year. This spike in legal costs comes as Washington reduces funding for education, healthcare and other state services. But cutting Washington’s legal bills is no easy task.

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Law & Justice
2:10 pm
Wed December 22, 2010

Jury recommends judge order death sentences in 2008 Oregon bank bombing

A taped over window is seen at West Coast Bank Monday, Dec. 15, 2008, in Woodburn, Ore. A father and son have been convicted in the deaths of two police officers who were killed when the bomb exploded.
AP

A jury is recommending that a judge sentence a man and his son to death after they were convicted of planting a bomb that killed two Oregon police officers.

The jury's decisions in the case of 59-year-old Bruce Turnidge and 34-year-old Joshua Turnidge were read in a Salem courtroom Wednesday.

Prosecutors say the pair built and planted the bomb outside a Woodburn bank in 2008. The device exploded as state police bomb technician William Hakim tried to dismantle it, killing him and Woodburn police Capt. Tom Tennant.

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Welfare Cards
2:28 pm
Mon December 20, 2010

Welfare recipients rack up millions in ATM fees

Washington welfare recipients are racking-up hundreds of thousand of dollars in ATM fees at non-Chase machines
Austin Jenkins N3

Welfare dollars are supposed to help the poorest of families pay for the necessities of life. But Washington welfare recipients are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each month on ATM surcharges. That’s what correspondent Austin Jenkins found through a public disclosure request. The finding comes as Washington’s welfare program faces budget cuts. 

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State Budget Crisis
8:09 am
Thu December 16, 2010

Advocates rail against proposed budget cuts

A hue and cry has erupted in response to Washington Governor Chris Gregoire’s proposal to slash billions more in anticipated state spending. The Democrat Wednesday unveiled her plan to close a $4.6 billion budget shortfall.

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Welfare Cards
7:56 am
Wed December 15, 2010

Welfare cards used at out-of-state liquor stores, strip clubs

Portland's Safari Club was one strip club where a welfare debit card was used to withdraw cash.
Chris Lehman N3

Some Washington welfare recipients are withdrawing cash at out-of-state liquor stores, smoke shops and even strip clubs. That’s the finding of a public radio investigation into welfare debit card use outside Washington’s borders. The finding comes at a time when the state’s welfare program is $82 million in the red.

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Washington State Patrol
3:54 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Slow down for emergency vehicles

This Washington State Patrol car was smashed while responding to a roadside incident.
WSP

Slow down and move over.  That’s the message from the Washington State Patrol as a new law goes into effect.  It’s meant to better protect troopers and emergency workers who handle car accidents.  

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State Budget Crisis
9:59 am
Mon December 13, 2010

Lawmakers take bite out of $1.1B shortfall in special session

Lawmakers hope they’ve taken a sizeable bite out of the state’s one-point-one billion dollar budget shortfall. The legislature met Saturday in what’s been called an unprecedented December special session. Governor Chris Gregoire demanded the lame-duck meeting saying she couldn’t solve the problem alone.

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Special Education Money
8:36 am
Fri December 10, 2010

State Supreme Court upholds special education formula

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

The State Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of the state’s formula for calculating how much money school districts get for special education classes.

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