Law

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

Steve Dykes / AP Photo

The U.S. Supreme Court won't block same-sex marriages in Oregon. The high court on Wednesday turned down a request to halt gay marriages in the state. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Confirmation hearings begin today for Kathleen O'Toole, the woman nominated to be the new Seattle police chief. Kathleen O’Toole will appear before the Seattle City Council Public Safety Committee.

One issue stirring controversy among the top brass in the Seattle Police Department is O’Toole’s plan to hire assistants from outside the department.

More than 100 Seattle police officers have filed a federal civil rights complaint against city and federal authorities.

They allege the agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Seattle restricting police  use of force has put both police and the public in danger.

Paula Wissel

A jury has found two men guilty of stealing 4.3 miles of copper wiring from Sound Transit's Light Rail System in Seattle. It’s believed to be the largest theft of metal in Washington State.

Apparently, the thieves undoing was a popular energy drink.

Courtesy of the Hak family.

A man being held in the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma could help save his brother’s life by giving him a kidney.

But that won’t happen if the U.S. goes forward with plans to deport the man to Cambodia, a country he left as a baby. The case shines a light on what some consider the U.S.'s overly harsh deportation policies.

Cacophony / Wikimedia Commons

Washington employers must “reasonably” accommodate the religious practices of their employees, according to a ruling issued by the Washington Supreme Court Thursday.

The case involves four men employed by a company that makes meals for airline passengers at Sea-Tac Airport.

An effort to overturn one Idaho city's gay rights ordinance appears to have failed by a slim margin. The anti-discrimination law in Pocatello was upheld Tuesday night by a projected margin of 90 votes.

City councils in seven Idaho cities have barred employers, landlords and most businesses from discriminating on basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. But Pocatello's ordinance was the first in the state to be put to a popular vote.

Like many medical marijuana patients, Greg Duran says he drives in fear, knowing he could be busted at any moment for driving under the influence.

As he merges onto Interstate 70 north of Denver, Duran explains that he's probably over the state's new marijuana limit: 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood of THC, the psychoactive chemical in pot.

"It would be devastating if I lost my car. It would change everything," Duran says.

AP Photo

Marijuana growers in Washington and Colorado and other states cannot use irrigation water from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to grow their crops.

The agency on Tuesday said that marijuana growing remains illegal under federal law, so irrigation water from its dams cannot be used to grow pot even in states that have legalized recreational or medical use of the drug.

Steve Dykes / AP Photo

Same-sex couples are getting married in Oregon now that a federal judge has overturned the state's ban on gay marriage.

Shortly after noon on Monday, the news broke to crowds gathered in Portland that U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled the law violated the federal constitutional rights of gays and lesbians.

Jessica Robinson

Voters in Pocatello, Idaho will decide the fate of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance Tuesday.

Pocatello is one of seven cities in Idaho that have passed laws aimed at protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people, but this is the first time one of these measures has been put to a popular vote.

Chris Lehman

Same-sex couples can now marry legally in Oregon after a federal judge Monday overturned the state's ban on gay marriage.

Weddings began almost immediately. County clerks started issuing marriage licenses minutes after U.S. District Judge Michael McShane issued his opinion. Same-sex couples lined up outside marriage license offices in Portland and Eugene in anticipation of a ruling in their favor.

Dam421 / Wikimedia Commons

Washington Fish and Wildlife officials are recommending that an Ilwaco woman face charges for allegedly feeding wild bears.

Wildlife agents have removed seven problematic black bears from the woman’s neighborhood and had to euthanize five of them since last fall.

The 70-year-old retiree could be the first person charged under a new law that bans the feeding of large wild carnivores. The Washington Legislature made that a misdemeanor in 2012.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Nearly five years have passed since Maurice Clemmons gunned down four Lakewood police officers in a coffee shop. Clemmons’ aunt and cousin were convicted of helping him after the murders.

Now, their case is before the Washington Supreme Court on appeal. Oral arguments are scheduled for Thursday.

Chris Lehman

A federal judge in Eugene, Oregon has denied a national group's attempt to defend Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage. U.S. District Judge Michael McShane said the National Organization of Marriage failed to prove why it should be allowed to intervene in the case.

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