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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Higher Education
4:50 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Fire tragedy prompts study-abroad student to push for safety upgrades

Grace Flott was one of the survivors of a devastating fire in Paris in 2010.
Paula Wissel

Spending a semester abroad is often a highlight of college life. But for one University of Washington graduate, it was anything but.

Grace Flott is still dealing with scars from a tragedy she suffered while overseas. Now she’s working to help others learn from her experience.

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Law
5:00 am
Mon June 17, 2013

U.S. Labor Dept. backs drywall workers claims for back wages

Even drywall workers paid a piece rate are subject to minimum wage rules, according to the Labor Dept.

Hanging drywall is a dirty, hard job. And 250 workers at Summit Drywall, Inc., based in Issaquah, say it was even worse for them because they didn’t get paid the wages they were due.

The U.S. Department of Labor is suing Summit Drywall on behalf of the workers, claiming the company failed to pay minimum wage and time and a half for overtime.

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Workers' Rights
6:45 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Workers who prepare specialty meals for airlines say their own dietary needs are ignored

Workers near Sea-Tac Airport, who prepare the meals served on many airlines, say their employer is failing to accommodate their religiously-based dietary needs. Gate Gourmet provides meals for employees who are not allowed for security reasons  to bring their own food into the facility or to eat lunch off-site.

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law school
11:13 am
Tue June 11, 2013

We need more lawyers, says Tacoma

The UW Tacoma campus would be the ideal location for the law school, according to advocates of bringing legal education back to the South Sound.
Paula Wissel

It’s been twenty years since Tacoma lost its only law school. Now, civic leaders are hoping they can bring back a legal-degree program to the South Sound.  They say it will help train lawyers who stay and work in Tacoma and add energy to the city's intellectual climate.

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marijuana regulation
6:36 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Liquor Control Board swamped with comments on pot rules

Morgan/Flickr

Everyone waits until the last minute. That apparently was the case with reaction to proposed rules for the legal sale of marijuana in Washington. 

As Monday's deadline for public comment approached, the  Washington Liquor Control Board received so much input on its first draft of rules that it plans to delay the final draft of the regulations. 

Minority leaders were among those expressing concern about how the new marijuana law will be implemented.

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FBI crime stats
5:49 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

FBI report: Seattle, Tacoma saw spike in murder, robbery in 2012

Alan Cleaver Flickr

Violent crime has gone up in our region, according to the latest statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the FBI's Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report for 2012, Seattle and Tacoma saw more murders, robberies and aggravated assaults in 2012 than in 2011. Some other Washington cities, including Bellevue, also saw more crime.

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Liquor privatization
5:02 am
Fri May 31, 2013

For one liquor retailer, 'an expensive learning curve'

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of private retail liquor sales in Washington. According to the Liquor Control Board, 1,680 retailers now stock vodka, whiskey, and other spirits.

Dean Hasegawa, manager of the Red Apple supermarkets on Seattle’s Beacon Hill and in the Central Area, says the biggest problem for him and other retailers has been theft. 

"That was an expensive learning curve, I’m going to tell you," said Hasegawa, reflecting on the past year.

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Remembering those who served
5:01 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Grieving mother plans place of healing for fallen soldiers' families

The Captain Joseph House Foundation's Facebook page

For families who have lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, Memorial Day can be a time of unbearable sadness. That’s especially true for Betsey Reed Schultz, a grieving mother in Port Angeles. But the woman is a shining example of someone trying to turn her sorrow into something beautiful.

A mother's worst nightmare

It was two years ago on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Betsy Reed Schultz got the visit every deployed soldier's mother fears.

Two officers, including a military chaplain, were standing at her door. The moment felt surreal.

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Criminal Justice
5:48 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

U.S. attorney: A 'buggy whip moment' in fighting cyber crime

FILE - U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan speaks at a news conference about the arrest of a Dutch national for a computer hacking conspiracy Monday, June 11, 2012, in Seattle
Associated Press

United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington Jenny Durkan faced tough questions from senators in Washington D.C. on Wednesday when she testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.

Durkan, who was speaking as chair of the U.S. Justice Department Task Force on Cyber Crime, was asked why more isn't being done to stop thieves who use the Internet to steal everything from credit card numbers to trade secrets.

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May Day Riot
12:30 am
Thu May 2, 2013

At least 17 arrested as 'anti-capitalism' rally turns violent

Aaron Hushagen

At least 17 protesters were arrested and eight officers injured Wednesday as an "anti-capitalism" May Day march took a violent turn, first on Capitol Hill then in downtown Seattle. 

Vandals shattered the glass door of Sun Liquor, at 512 East Pike, around 7 p.m. before heading downtown, hurling metal pipes and rocks at cars and police, shoving camera crews and setting off flares along the way. 

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May Day events
7:00 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

No show of violence as thousands gather for May Day rally, march

A speaker is seen addressing the crowd at Judkins Park.
Justin Steyer

A planned rally and march for workers and immigration reform progressed without interruptions by anarchists Wednesday, easing fears of another violent May Day.

Thousands of people gathered at Judkins Park, behind St. Mary's Church, for the Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights at 1 p.m. Several unions were present, as were some representatives of the Occupy movement. Many people were displaying the flags of U.S. and Mexico, as well as signs urging comprehensive immigration reform. 

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Drunk-driving laws
12:35 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Crash victims' son, husband, father: 'Things need to change'

Schulte family

A Seattle man who lost his parents and whose wife and infant son were critically injured by a drunk driver says these tragedies must be stopped. 

"This is preventable and it should be prevented," said Dan Schulte at a news conference Tuesday. "I don't know what that means yet. I don't know if I'm going to dedicate my life to this cause, which I might, but I do know that things need to change."

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May Day Protests
8:04 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Seattle police say this time they're ready for May Day

A sign at May Day protests in 2012 in Seattle
Justin Steyer

Seattle police insist they’re ready for whatever happens on May Day, that they are better staffed, better organized and better trained than last year.

“We’re as prepared as we can be, given our resources,” said Captain Chris Fowler, the designated commander for police May Day response.

Last year on May Day, there was widespread confusion among officers on duty about how to respond to black-clad vandals smashing windows downtown.

What’s different this time?

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May Day Protests
4:22 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Remnant of last year's May Day riots: Grand jury resisters

Protesters are seen clashing with police on May Day, 2012.

Reverberations from last year's May Day melee in downtown Seattle are still being felt among some activists in the Pacific Northwest.

You could say what happened after the window-smashing by black bloc anarchists on May 1, 2012 has spawned a whole new protest movement, the grand jury resistance movement.

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Drunk driving laws
1:46 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

DUI court packed with offenders and repeat offenders

New Mexico Department of Public Safety

Sit in a courtroom where people are being arraigned on charges of driving under the influence, and you get an idea of the obstacles Washington lawmakers face in trying to pass tougher drunk driving laws.

I recently spent an eye-opening afternoon in Judge Mark Eide's courtroom in King County District Court in Burien.

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