Law

Stories about law and politics in the Pacific Northwest, with many from KPLU's Law and Justice reporter, Paula Wissel.

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

Law enforcement groups in Washington state are pushing back against possible limits on police use of drones.

A task force convened by Gov. Jay Inslee continued to wrestle Monday about how to regulate small unmanned aircraft.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Photo

Same-sex couples in Idaho can start getting married and have those marriages legally recognized by the state starting Wednesday morning, according to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Pacific Northwest isn’t immune to home grown terrorists. That’s what FBI director James Comey told reporters during a stop in Seattle.

Comey, who’s been in his position for a year, is visiting all 56 FBI field offices.

Paula Wissel

Imagine spending ten years of your life behind bars for a crime you didn’t commit. 

That's what happened to Brandon Redtailhawk Olebar. Now, Washington state is paying him more than half a million dollars.

Olebar is one of the first exonerees to receive a monetary award under a Washington law passed in 2013. The law makes it possible for people wrongfully incarcerated in the state to receive up to $50,000 for each year in prison as well as tuition waivers for themselves and their families to state universities and colleges.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

At some point today, depending on where you live, you are likely to pass by a medical marijuana collective garden, which is more commonly known as a dispensary.

These places have been allowed to flourish in cities like Seattle. But according to a ruling last March by Washington’s State Court of Appeals, dispensaries are actually illegal and communities have the authority to ban them.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

People are lining up to buy legal marijuana in Washington state. Now the question is how to convince kids not to touch the stuff.

A panel of experts briefed Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday on the topic of youth marijuana use.

Paula Wissel

Charges of racial discrimination are being aimed at a Sound Transit contractor. 

A group of African American laborers who worked on the Sound Transit Link Light Rail project at Husky Stadium are suing, seeking class action status in federal court.

Washington State Department of Enterprise Services

The state of Washington paid out nearly $50 million last fiscal year to people who were somehow harmed by the state. The numbers were released Tuesday in an annual report on tort claim payouts.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes says he isn’t promoting the use of marijuana in public, but he is calling for all the tickets issued for public pot smoking between Jan. 1 and July 31 to be thrown out.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Washington state is warning dozens of people who applied to run legal marijuana shops that their chance of getting a license is in jeopardy.

The Liquor Control Board on Wednesday began sending letters to 56 businesses. The board says they scored lucky numbers in lotteries conducted in April, putting them in a good position to win a coveted marijuana retail license, but they haven't moved forward with their applications since then.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The getaway driver in the murders of four Lakewood, Washington police officers is seeking a new trial. The case has made it to the Washington Supreme Court and on Tuesday, the justices heard arguments.

Darcus Allen, also known as Dorcus Allen, was convicted and sentenced to 420 years in prison as an accomplice to Maurice Clemmons, the Arkansas-parolee who murdered the four officers in a coffee shop in 2009. Clemmons was later shot and killed by a Seattle police officer. Prosecutors went after Allen who drove the getaway truck.

King Mountain Tobacco

A federal judge in eastern Washington has ruled a cigarette maker on the Yakama Indian Reservation owes $58 million in unpaid taxes and penalties.

The privately-owned tobacco company has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to assert a treaty right to trade tax free.

The U.S. Treasury Department went after King Mountain Tobacco Company for federal cigarette taxes unpaid since 2009. The cigarette factory is owned by a Yakama tribal member. The company's lawyers and the tribal government insist the reservation-based business is not subject to federal or state taxes.

Taber Andrew Bain
Flickr

The state of Washington now has until the end of the year to stop “boarding” mental health patients in non-psychiatric hospital beds. The Supreme Court on Friday granted a 120-day stay in a ruling that declared the practice of boarding illegal. 

Austin Jenkins

The Washington Supreme Court has heard the arguments, and it must now decide whether to hold the state in contempt for failing to submit a complete plan to fully fund schools.

The nine justices heard oral arguments Wednesday in a historic hearing that could result in sanctions against the state Legislature.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

In the first month of legal recreational marijuana sales in Washington, two welfare clients withdrew cash at pot stores using their electronic benefits transfer cards in violation of state law, according to the Office of Fraud and Accountability within the Department of Social and Health Services.

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