Law

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

For the first time, the Washington state Senate has passed a version of “Joel’s Law.”

A new statistic from Washington state illustrates a problem 911 dispatch centers throughout the Northwest grapple with. About a third of 911 calls in Washington state are mistaken.

Worker rights advocates say it’s great that Washington is considering raising the minimum wage and that several cities have already passed higher wage and paid sick leave laws.

But they say it’s important to make sure such measures are enforced. That’s why a union local is teaming up with the University of Washington School of Law.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

 

The congressional wrangling over immigration policy, which threatens to cut off Homeland Security money later this week, is spilling over to the Washington state Capitol in a fashion.

In Olympia, state representatives may take a preliminary vote Wednesday morning on a measure that would direct local police and jails to stop coordinating with federal agencies on immigrant deportations.

Brennan Linsley / AP Photo

People who survive gunshot wounds have a high risk of being the victim of a firearm again, according to a study conducted by the University of Washington. Researchers also found the victims were more likely to commit crimes and more likely to ultimately die from gunshot wounds.

Kaitlyn Bernauer

On the morning of Sept. 29, 1995, a woman was alone in her Yakima home, feeding her baby, when she heard an unusual noise. She found a man in the house, wearing a white nylon stocking over his face.

She tried to run, but couldn’t get away. He put a mask on her and raped her. And when he was done, she was left tied to the crib that held her crying child.

Alliance Defending Freedom

 

 

A judge in Benton County, Washington has ruled that a flower shop in the Tri-Cities broke the law when it refused to serve a gay couple planning a wedding two years ago.

The judge said Barronelle Stutzman broke state anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws. In 2013, she told Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed she couldn't do the flower arrangements for their wedding because of her religious convictions against same-sex marriage.

Jen R / Flickr

Ever think about what happens to the information the government collects on you?

Even signing up with a utility or reserving a room at a local community center can result in your data being stored somewhere. Improvements in technology have made that even more likely. 

It's the reason Seattle city leaders say they want to make sure people’s privacy is being protected.

Austin Jenkins

 

The case of an infant who nearly died from severe abuse has captured the attention of Washington lawmakers. The child’s adoptive parents testified Tuesday in favor a proposed law named in their son’s honor.

“Aiden’s Law” would require Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services to conduct a formal review in near-fatal child abuse and neglect cases.

Courtesy of Zach Powers / Pacific Lutheran University

Lt. Col. Celia FlorCruz, 55, has done a lot in her life. She graduated from West Point at a time when women were just being allowed in. She flew a Medevac helicopter in a war zone. She’s now a top officer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and is married to JBLM I Corps Deputy Commander Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl.

What she’s never done, until now, is speak about her personal experience as a victim of sexual assault, both in college and in the U.S. Army. 

Although there’s a law on the books in Washington that allows child victims of sexual abuse to testify remotely, a state lawmaker says the option isn’t being used often enough.

State Rep. Lilian Ortiz-Self, D-Mukilteo, is also a mental health counselor. For years, she’s worked with child victims of sexual abuse.

static416 / Flickr

 

A new bill under consideration in the Idaho legislature would allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons in the state without a permit.

Greg Pruett told a House panel that lawmakers don’t have to have a permit for their concealed weapons. He wants the same right extended to all citizens.

Scott Davidson / Flickr

Even with all the talk about police misconduct, a bill in the Washington legislature could result in less discipline for cops accused of bad behavior.

When a cop is put on the stand as a witness for the prosecution during a trial, if there’s anything in the officer’s background indicating a lack of truthfulness or bias or misconduct, the prosecution is required to let the defense team know about it since it could help clear the accused.

Stephan Röhl

Sometimes it's a vengeful ex-lover; sometimes a thief or a hacker is behind it. Either way, explicit, private photos of people keep getting out on the Internet.

A woman from Seattle said she was mortified just over a year ago to discover naked pictures of herself posted to a "revenge porn" website. Kim asked that her last name not be used during testimony to a Washington state Senate committee Monday.

National Institute of Mental Health

Mental health advocates in Washington are assailing a proposal to allow psychiatric boarding in limited cases.

Boarding is when mental health patients are held involuntarily in a non-psychiatric setting, like an emergency department. It was a widespread practice in Washington until last year when the Supreme Court ruled it was illegal.

Paula Wissel

The Space Needle corporation engaged in unfair labor practices, according to a ruling from a three-member panel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The ruling was issued on Friday, Jan. 30.

This is the latest decision in what’s been a two-year battle between the Seattle icon and its bartenders, servers, cooks and other unionized workers.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A $17 million lawsuit has been filed by the Washington State Department of Transportation to recovers costs related to the 2013 Skagit River bridge collapse.

Rogelio V. Solix / AP Photo

DNA preservation in felony cases is something 35 states require, but Washington state isn’t one of them. A bill being considered in Olympia would change that.

Several hundred people packed an auditorium in the Idaho Capitol this morning for a hearing on a measure known as the Add the Words bill.

At the juvenile detention facility in King County, Washington, strip searches are common practice at intake for serious and violent offenders or those accused of a drug crime.

 

What if you were convicted of a crime 20 years ago and served your time in prison? Now, you are trying to make better choices. You go to school, you stay out of trouble and you decide you want to open your own hair salon. This will not be possible. 

It’s the end of week two of Washington’s legislative session. Already more than 1,200 bills have been introduced.

Sales of small, camera-equipped drones are soaring. Aside from air safety issues, these remotely-piloted aircraft can raise privacy concerns if they fly uninvited over your backyard or past your bedroom windows.

Christopher Monfort sat in a wheelchair in King County Superior Court as Prosecutor John Castleton told jurors Monfort was on a mission to hunt down police.

“This attack, this ambush on Officer Sweeney and Officer Brenton, maybe it was just happenstance. Maybe he was just driving and saw them sitting there and took a shot. But ladies and gentleman, the evidence will show  that’s not the case. In fact, the defendant stalked Officer Brenton and Officer Sweeney,” Castleton said in his opening statement Tuesday.

Austin Jenkins

 

At a Tuesday news conference, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said Washington’s unregulated medical marijuana industry is “unworkable” and “needs to be fixed."

Austin Jenkins

 

The Washington House has joined the state Senate in banning openly carried guns in the public viewing galleries.

House leaders made that announcement Monday morning following an incident in the House gallery last week.

Seattle police arrested 19 people after marchers blocked a portion of Highway 99, triggering heavy delays on Monday afternoon. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

 

In the years before Washington and Oregon legalized recreational pot for adults, thousands of people were convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Now Washington state lawmakers are considering whether to make it simple to expunge that crime, which is no longer a crime, from a person's record. The same issue could also come up in Oregon as the legislature examines implementation of its voter-approved legalization measure.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Umbrellas, strollers and backpacks were already banned from the public viewing galleries in the Washington House and Senate.

Now Senate leaders have added a ban on openly-carried guns. The House may soon follow suit.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

 

The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a new trial for the getaway driver in the 2009 killings of four Lakewood, Washington police officers.

Dorcus Dewayne Allen, who is also known as Darcus Allen, drove Maurice Clemmons to and from the scene of the Thanksgiving weekend shooting at a coffee shop. Allen was charged with four counts of aggravated murder.

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