Law

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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Cigarette Tax
8:00 am
Sun March 23, 2014

Study: Cigarette Tax Evasion Sky-High In Washington, Idaho Big Supplier

Tax Foundation/Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Nearly half of the cigarettes smoked in Washington went untaxed by the state, according to a new study by two think tanks.

The study compared actual legal sales in a state against the level you would expect to see based on its smoking rate. From that, researchers came up with a smuggling estimate. The study pegs low-tax Idaho as a major source of smuggled cigarettes.

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Drunk Driving
8:00 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Washington's New 24/7 Sobriety Program Runs Into Snags

Commander Jim Rich of the Centralia Police Department displays the breath test machine used for the 24/7 Sobriety pilot program.
Austin Jenkins

It’s been nearly a year since a repeat drunk driver caused a horrific accident in north Seattle. A new mother, her 10-day-old baby and her in-laws were run down as they crossed the street. The grandparents were killed, and the mother and her baby were critically injured.

That tragedy and other high-profile drunk driving crashes prompted Washington lawmakers to authorize a pilot program to test repeat drunk drivers twice-a-day to see if they have been drinking.

But the 24/7 Sobriety program has run into legal and financial snags.

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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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Law
11:11 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Lawsuits: 'Ag-Gag' Laws Violate Free Speech

The group Mercy for Animals released video in 2012 of workers at Bettencourt Dairy in Idaho abusing cows. The incident led Idaho lawmakers to outlaw surreptitious video at farms.
Mercy For Animals

 

A lawsuit led by the ACLU is challenging Idaho's brand new so-called “ag-gag” law aimed at stopping undercover animal rights activists from making videos of abuse at farms and slaughter houses.

And Idaho's law isn't the first to be challenged on free speech grounds.

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Legal Marijuana
10:14 am
Fri March 14, 2014

FBI Balks At Background Checks For Wash. Pot License Applicants

FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2013 file photo, a man wears an American flag as he walks past a vendor selling tie-dyed products at the first day of Hempfest in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

The FBI is refusing to run nationwide background checks on people applying to run legal marijuana businesses in Washington state, even though it has conducted similar checks in Colorado — a discrepancy that illustrates the quandary the Justice Department faces as it allows the states to experiment with regulating a drug that's long been illegal under federal law.

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Class-Action Suit
5:44 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

MultiCare Settles Suit With Nurses, Agrees To Shell Out Back Pay For Overtime

A major south Sound hospital chain has agreed to give back pay to nearly 800 nurses.

The deal settles a class-action lawsuit filed by nurses against MultiCare Health System, the nonprofit entity that runs Tacoma General Hospital, Auburn Medical Center and others.

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Police & Privacy
6:05 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Seattle Police To Buy Facial Recognition Software — Should Citizens Be Worried?

zeraien Flickr

Following a decision by the Seattle City Council this week, the Seattle Police Department will soon use facial recognition software. 

The ACLU of Washington doesn't think the move will encroach on citizens' rights, but privacy advocates, including Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, aren’t fond of the new policy.

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Immigration
4:02 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Judge: Some Immigrants Can't Be Held Without Bond

A federal judge in Seattle says certain immigrants can't be held in detention without bond hearings.

Tuesday's ruling stems from a complaint filed by immigrant advocates on behalf of three men who were held for months at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma without a chance of a bond hearing, in which a judge determines whether immigrants present a flight risk or a danger to the community.

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Probation And Parole
5:01 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Washington's 'Swift And Certain' Parole Reforms Getting Results And Attention

FILE - This photo shows the correctional facility in Shelton, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

President Barack Obama wants to expand a program pioneered in Washington to reform probation and parole. The new state law dramatically changed its approach to ex-offenders, and even the experts who back the new approach have been surprised at the promising results.

In the past, ex-offenders on probation or parole could often rack up a bunch of violation before they’d be punished. And by then the sanctions could be harsh: many months in jail.

The idea behind the new approach, called "swift and certain," is that a minor violation triggers an immediate but moderate punishment, such as a couple of days in jail for failing a drug test.

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Marijuana Legalization
5:01 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Washington's 'Pot Czar' Says Legal Marijuana Could Be Too Cheap

File image
Brennan Linsley AP Photo

Washington and Colorado are embracing their role as “laboratories of democracy” when it comes to drug policy, but as Washington’s marijuana consultant points out, “Dr. Frankenstein had a laboratory, too.”

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Medical Marijuana
11:53 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

Wash. State Senate Passes Bill To Regulate Medical Marijuana

File image
AP Photo

A measure to overhaul the state's medical marijuana system cleared the Senate as the state moves to merge that largely unregulated market with the still-developing legal recreational market.

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Legal Marijuana
3:29 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Tribal Group Approves Anti-Pot Resolution

Brennan LinsleyA AP Photo

The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians has passed a resolution that rejects marijuana use and legalization efforts in the region.

The resolution, drawn up at the groups recent Winter Convention, points out that Native Tribes have higher rates of marijuana and drug use than other ethnicities in the U.S., and the negative impacts of marijuana use can cause many health related problems.

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Legal Marijuana
3:57 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

1st Wash. State Pot License Goes To Spokane Grower Named Green

File image
Ed Andrieski AP Photo

Washington state's first legal marijuana license is going to a guy named Green.

The Associated Press has learned that Spokane grower Sean Green, the chief executive of a company called Kouchlock Productions, is due to be issued a producer-processor license at the state Liquor Control Board meeting in Olympia on Wednesday morning.

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Washington Supreme Court
10:57 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Justices: People Have Right To Privacy In Texts

File image
Silvia Izquierdo AP Photo

Washington's Supreme Court says people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the text messages they send from their phones — even if they can't know for sure who might be reading them.

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