Law

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

 

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.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

 

Guns are allowed in the Washington state Capitol, but state law makes it illegal to carry a firearm in a manner designed to intimidate.

That made for some tense moments Thursday in the spectator gallery of the Washington House.

Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

After a woman is raped, she undergoes a long, invasive process at a hospital where DNA is collected and a “rape kit” is put together.

Law enforcement agencies in Washington state estimate there are more than five thousand kits containing DNA taken from rape victims sitting on the shelf, never making it to a lab for further analysis. Kits often don’t go anywhere if the victim can identify the suspect. Other times, often in domestic violence cases, the victims won’t press charges.  

Kristen Wyatt / AP Photo

Hemp advocates have launched a renewed bid to make hemp farming lawful in Washington state.

The non-drug variety of the cannabis plant has already been legalized in Oregon and California, but it is not commercially grown there yet.

Adam Cotterell

 

Legalizing marijuana in Idaho has been a complete no-go, even as its neighbors have started licensing pot dispensaries and retail shops.

But now Republican leaders in Idaho say they're willing to consider a very narrow version of a medical marijuana law.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

A man convicted in the murder of Seattle’s beloved "Tuba Man" will serve more than 18 years in prison for a separate murder at a Bellevue nightclub.

In a packed courtroom in downtown Seattle, 21-year-old Ja’Marie Jones was sentenced in the fatal shooting DeShawn Milliken, 30, at a bar in Bellevue on Christmas Eve 2012. Jones pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and apologized to Milliken’s family.

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