Paula Wissel

Law & Justice Reporter

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KPLU since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KPLU, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.

Paula's most memorable moment at KPLU: “Interviewing NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr about his ability to put current events in historical context. It’s something I aspire to.”

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Oso Slide
4:56 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Trying To Help Slide Victims? Beware Of Disaster Relief Fraud

In this Wednesday, April 16, 2014, photo, a flag hangs on one of two buildings pushed together near the edge of the massive deadly mudslide that hit the community of Oso, Wash., on March 22, 2014.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Think twice before clicking on a link soliciting money for victims of the March 22 mudslide that has claimed 41 lives. U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan says fraud is always a problem as people begin to recover from a disaster. 

Durkan and Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe are urging anyone who is aware of disaster relief fraud to call the toll-free National Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721, send an email to disaster@leo.gov.

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Liquor Law
4:30 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Stores With High Shoplifting Rate Could Lose Liquor License Under New State Law

Steve Helber AP Photo

Grocery store owners who are losing liquor to shoplifters could pay a hefty price. Under a new law that takes effect June 13, the state can take away the store's license to sell liquor.

The crack down is aimed at keeping liquor out of the hands of underage drinkers.

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Life Behind Bars
10:34 am
Tue April 15, 2014

How Meditation Is Changing Monroe's Maximum-Security Inmates

Justin Steyer KPLU

Seven maximum-security inmates sit in a room with their eyes closed, not making a sound.

Shackles bind their hands and feet, confining them to a metal chair bolted to the ground. A guard stands nearby. Yells and clanks from the hallway stray in through the open door.

This is what meditation class at the Monroe Correctional Complex looks like. The students, murderer and rapists among them, listen as volunteer teacher Cathy Iacobazzi walks them through a practice session. 

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Labor Practices
4:24 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Hearing Set For T-Mobile Workers' Unfair Labor Practice Claims

Mark Lennihan AP Photo

The union that has been trying to organize T-Mobile workers says a recent action by the federal government will boost its efforts.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ordered the various labor complaints against the telecom giant to be consolidated into one case.

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Juvenile Justice
4:50 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Washington To Seal Juvenile Court Records

.v1ctor Casale Flickr

If you were charged with shoplifting or another minor criminal offense as a teenager, you shouldn’t have to pay for it for the rest of your life.

That’s the reasoning behind a bill being signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee. The law will seal the court records for most juvenile offenders.

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Drunk Driving
6:17 am
Tue March 25, 2014

On Anniversary Of DUI Crash In Seattle, Memorial Walk Held To Honor Victims

Dan and Karina Schulte are seen with their son, Elias, on March 24, 2013—one day before the accident.
Schulte Family

It was one year ago that repeat drunk driver Mark Mullan crashed into a family crossing a street in north Seattle, killing Judy and Dennis Schulte and critically injuring  their daughter-in-law, Karina, and newborn grandson, Elias.

The tragedy prompted the Washington Legislature to pass tougher drunk driving laws. 

On the anniversary of the crash on Wednesday, a crowd gathered for a walk and rally in memory of Judy and Dennis Schulte. 

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Legal Marijuana
12:54 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

ACLU Report Shows Sharp Drop In Pot Charges In Wash. State After Legalization

ACLU

You might assume that after voters passed Initiative 502, making adult possession of marijuana legal, the number of prosecutions for pot would drop. Now, there’s proof to back up that assumption.

The American Civil Liberties Union analyzed court data from around the state, looking specifically at filings for low-level marijuana offenses. The numbers show a huge decrease.

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Death Penalty
5:00 am
Thu February 27, 2014

How The Murder Of A Loved One Forced One Death Penalty Foe To Reexamine Stance

Former State Senator Debbie Regala stands in front of a painting by her late brother-in-law, who was murdered.
Paula Wissel

Former state Sen. Debbie Regala says when her brother-in-law was strangled in 1980, her family had to ponder what they would want to have happen when the murderer was found.

She says she was angry, but in the end, it didn't change her long-standing opposition to capital punishment.

"Executing them doesn't make me feel any better. It doesn't bring them [the victims] back. It doesn't heal the terrible hurt that you feel," she said during an interview in her Tacoma home.

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Jazz and Blues
9:36 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Three Local Schools, Including First-Timer, Named Finalists In Essentially Ellington

Rooseveltjazz.org

Three western Washington high schools are among the 15 finalists in the annual Essentially Ellington competition and festival in New York.

Garfield High School, Roosevelt High School and first-timer Mount Si High School will compete against other finalists from around the country at the Lincoln Center in May. 

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Civil Rights
8:56 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Seattle Civil Rights Leader Honored With Street Sign

Reverend Sam McKinney
Ashley Gross

A street in Seattle’s central area has been named Reverend Dr. S. McKinney Avenue, for the local civil rights leader.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed an ordinance  Wednesday, February 12, designating 19th Avenue, from East Union to East Madison Street, Reverend Dr. S. McKinney Avenue.

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Poverty
7:55 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Court-Ordered Fines Result In Modern-Day Debtors' Prisons, Says ACLU

Valerie Bodeau, who was homeless at the time, was jailed for missing payments on $7000 court ordered fines.
Paula Wissel

A report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and Columbia Legal Services claims court imposed fees in Washington state have resulted in modern-day debtors’ prisons.

The report documents cases of people being locked up because they couldn't make payments on their fines.

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We Are The Champions
12:56 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Some 700,000 Fans Pack Seattle Streets For Seahawks' Victory Parade

Kam Chancellor holds up the Lombardi trophy.
Justin Steyer KPLU

The 12th Man showed up in full force for the Seattle Seahawks’ victory parade on Wednesday. Seattle police estimated some 700,000 people braved the cold to line the streets and cheer for the Super Bowl champions. 

"I think it just gives us a sense of pride. It's given everyone something to rally around and be excited about. It's just brought joy to so many people here," said Lesli Burns, a fan.

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Super Bowl XLVIII
5:00 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Some Seahawks Fans Plan To Party Like It's 1979

Sonics 1979 NBA Championship poster
Paula Wissel

Some fans who will be watching the Seahawks victory parade today are remembering another time when the city turned out to celebrate a major sports victory.

It was June of 1979 and the Seattle SuperSonics had just won the NBA championship.

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Super Bowl XLVIII
12:27 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

What You Need To Know For The Seahawks Victory Parade

Wikimedia Commons

The Seahawks will be riding the Ducks in Wednesday’s parade through downtown Seattle, but there's no word yet on whether they’ll be issued quacker noisemakers.

City spokesman Kyle Moore says the players, coaches and dignitaries, including Gov. Jay Inslee, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine, will be in about two dozen amphibious Ride the Duck vehicles, which are more often associated with tourist excursions.

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Super Bowl XLVIII
7:42 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Seahawks Fans Snap Up Merchandise After Historic Win

Shoppers browse and buy at The Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field.
Paula Wissel

The day after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, the team store at CenturyLink Field was doing brisk business. Fans crowded into the space, buying everything from towels to shirt to hats sporting the Super Bowl XLVIII logo.

Arby Asatorrians, who'd already waited in line to buy a hat, was holding a souvenir football he planned to purchase. 

“We were already downtown last night, celebrating after the game. I was wanting something to commemorate having a piece of the Super Bowl,” he said.  

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