Archive for Criminal Justice

Wednesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | February 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Wednesday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” We cover a pair of bills that aims to reduce the child pornography trade in Washington by using unclaimed lotto money to fund a task force. Plus, we have details about several bills considered in fiscal committees and other measures passed off the Senate floor.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Categories: Criminal Justice

Washington would abolish death penalty if bill passes

By | February 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

For the more than 30 years since Washington’s death penalty was reinstated, state lawmakers have debated whether to abolish it.

That didn’t change this year when Rep. Reuven Carlyle introduced his seventh bill to keep criminals in prison for life and off death row. But this year’s push, amidst a death penalty moratorium, has more bipartisan support.

House Bill 1739 has 17 sponsors, including two Republicans. Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, has long supported eliminating the death penalty, but this year’s bill also has support from Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah. Republican Sen. Mark Miloscia is sponsoring the Senate version.

Families of murder victims, law enforcement, bill sponsors and a former death row inmate were among those who testified Wednesday before a House committee on the bill.

The death penalty, Carlyle said, fails to deter homicide and is much more costly than life in prison.  “There are incredible implications, not just for our state and for our society, but for the choices we are making for the justice system, public safety and how we choose to spend the public’s hard-earned tax dollars,” the Seattle Democrat said. “Regardless of your view, the death penalty struggles to justify itself finally.”

Rep. Jay Rodne, Snoqualmie Republican and House Judiciary’s ranking GOP member, told sponsors he doesn’t think cost is enough to justify abolishing a punishment that he says gives justice to families. “The cost argument is a red herring, it’s disingenuous,” he said.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a moratorium on the death penalty last February. He did not vacate sentences of the nine men currently on death row in Washington, but announced none would be executed while he’s in office.

The state sentenced Washington’s most recent death row inmate after Inslee took office. Byron Scherf, an inmate who killed corrections officer Jayme Biendl while she was on duty at a Monroe prison in 2011, was sent to death row in May 2013.

Inslee issued a statement in support of the measure following Wednesday’s hearing. “Capital punishment is a complex and emotional issue with very strong feelings on both sides and it’s important to have civil discussions like we saw today,” he said.

The niece of Delbert Belton, the 88-year-old World War II veteran who was killed by two Spokane teenagers in 2013, testified in support of the bill. One of the boys was sentenced last month to 20 years in prison.

She told lawmakers she’s thankful her family did not have to go through the process of seeking the death penalty. ”It would reopen this wound again and again,” she said. “It may be the only way I end up remembering my uncle. Instead I end up remembering my found childhood memories of him.”

Only one person testified in opposition to the bill. Mitch Barker, executive director for the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, said the death penalty is important leverage for law enforcement.: “Had the death penalty not been available to prosecutors, Gary Ridgway would never had admitted what he’d done,” he said.

If the bill passes, Washington would follow 18 states in abolishing the death penalty. Washington has a long legacy of banning and re-imposing a death penalty. The state reinstated the death penalty most recently in 1981. Since then, 33 people have been sentenced to death, but only five have been executed. Altogether, the state has executed 78 people since 1904.

Categories: Criminal Justice

‘Revenge porn’ bills get hearings

By | February 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

When computer technician Jeremy Scott Walters took a customer’s nude photos from her computer and threatened to post them online unless she “played along,” the woman said police did not take her seriously at first.

The woman told a House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday at a hearing on HB 1624 that Walters posted her intimate photos on a website where people post nude images of women with the intent of humiliating them, and links were sent to her family and friends.

The practice commonly is called “revenge porn,” though in this case, the only contact that the woman had with Walters was when she hired him to transfer her files from one computer to another.

After months of investigation, King County prosecutors charged Walters with computer trespass of four women whose nude or topless photos were posted online, and he was sentenced in December to a year in prison, according to news reports at the time.

“The process was long and arduous and painful,” the victim told the House Judiciary Committee. The woman spoke to the committee without identifying herself by her full name.

The woman testified on a bill that would set a civil penalty of at least $10,000 in restitution to the victims. The House will hear two other bills on Friday that would criminalize distributing intimate images of a person without that person’s consent.

Gary Ernsdorff of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office said the bills would help stop cyberstalking, which is a complicated crime to prove.

“It took us about five months and about a dozen search warrants before we had a complete picture of what revenge porn was and how it affected victims in an extreme fashion,” he said.

While some cases may be of an angry person getting back at a former girlfriend, that was not the case for Walters, Ernsdorff said.

“This was a person who was doing it, frankly, just to be cruel,” he said.

Ernsdorff said when victims contact the website, they are told they must pay $500, deposited into a foreign account, to have the images removed from the site.

“They are completely law-enforcement unfriendly by design,” he said. “Their business model is extortion.”

The violation still affects her life, the woman told lawmakers, forcing her to put her name and face out in the public in her efforts to stop the activity.

“Requiring me to be courageous and brave and having this be more upfront than I wanted this to be in the first place,” she said.

Categories: Criminal Justice
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Bill would strengthen laws against animal cruelty

By | February 3, 2015 | 0 Comments

A new effort in the state Senate would strengthen charges for people who abuse animals and make it easier for law enforcement to intervene in cases of cruelty.

A state Senate bill would strengthen animal cruelty laws.

Senate Bill 5501 expands felony charges for animal cruelty, outlaws forcing all animals to fight and increases the legal value of pets. It also makes it easier for animal control officers to retrieve animals from cars without liability.

Right now, animal cruelty in the first degree includes intentionally inflicting substantial pain, causing physical injury or killing an animal. The bill would expand the charge to include anyone who causes an animal undue suffering with malice or extreme indifference to life. It’s a class C felony, with a maximum penalty of five years or a $10,000 fine.

The bill would give animal control officers more power to save animals and prosecute offenders, Thurston County Animal Control officer Erica Johnson told a Senate committee Tuesday.

“Adding malice and extreme indifference to life would allow me to request charge for people who just don’t care,” she said. Anyone charged with first degree animal cruelty is barred from owning animals or living anywhere where animals are present.

Forcing some animals to fight is illegal in Washington state, but the definition is limited to dogs and male chickens. The bill expands the state’s definition to include all animals.

It would also increase the value limit of a pet animal to $750, the monetary threshold for theft in the third degree. That’s three times the current value limit.

If an animal is left in a vehicle in excessive heat or cold, the bill would allow an animal control officer to remove the animal without liability. The owner could, if the bill passes, face a $125 fine.

Animal control officers often wait for law enforcement to arrive because liability has been a grey area, Johnson told committee members. “We’ve been told to wait outside,” she said.

No one testified in opposition to the bill at its first hearing Tuesday, but Sen. Pam Roach raised concerns. “This bill is extremely broad and I think we need to understand how subjective it really is,” the Auburn Republican told fellow committee members.

Categories: Criminal Justice

‘Alicia’s Law’ would fund child exploitation task force in Washington state

By | January 30, 2015 | 0 Comments

Alicia Kozakiewicz was 13 when she was lured from her Pittsburgh home by a man she met online.

Alicia Kozakiewicz advocates for a bill to devote more funding to finding exploited children.

She was taken to another state, chained in a basement and, for four days, raped, beaten and tortured. “My degradation was shared live, to an audience, over streaming video,” she said.

A FBI internet crimes task force rescued her less than a week after she was abducted. Now, 13 years later, Kozakiewicz is advocating for “Alicia’s Law,” which would secure more funding for child exploitation task forces in Washington and other states.

Law enforcement agencies have limited resources for rescuing many victims of child pornography, Kozakiewicz says. “They have to look into these children’s eyes and say ‘I don’t have the ability to come get you’,” she said. “I know who you are, I know where you are and I know what’s happening to you, but I can’t come save you because I don’t have the manpower.”

Senate Bill 5215 would use unclaimed lottery prize money to fund child exploitation investigations. Sen. Pam Roach is prime sponsor of the bill to allocate up to $2 million every two years to Washington’s branch of Internet Crimes Against Children, one of 61 national task forces dedicated to ending child exploitation online.

Most of the money from unclaimed prizes stays in the state lottery fund to use for other prizes, but one-third is deposited in the development strategic reserve account.

Rep. David Sawyer is sponsoring House Bill 1281, which adds a $1,000 fine per image or video containing child pornography.

Seattle Police Captain Mike Edwards commands the Washington state task force, which in 2014 received more than 16,000 leads. It’s the job of six full-time employees to watch child pornography to identify victims and help prosecute sex offenders.

The task force needs more labor to handle its caseload, Edwards said. It’s a tough job to do for more than a few years, he said, and it can take years before a position is filled. “You don’t want to force anybody to do this,” he said. “It’s something they have to decide on their own.”

Local police departments offer some resources to assist with cases, but Edwards says agencies need more funding to devote full-time employees to child exploitation cases. “We’re getting crushed by the number of reports,” he said. Funding would help pay for more devoted employees.

Seven states have passed similar bills and Washington is one of five states considering “Alicia’s Law” this year. Both bills have received public hearings, but have not yet been scheduled for a vote.

Categories: Criminal Justice

Wednesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | January 29, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Wednesday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” We cover a bill known as “Sheena’s Law” named after the victim of a murder-suicide in Spokane. Plus, mobile home owners and landlords clash over a bill that would make changes to leases. The show also has highlights from a debate over a bill known by supporters as the Early Start Act.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m. on TVW.

Rep. Klippert: Repeal legal marijuana, recognize fetus in murder cases

By | January 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

Two controversial measures could appear before lawmakers this session – a bill to repeal recreational marijuana and another that would recognize a fetus as a victim if a crime is committed against a pregnant mother.

Rep. Brad Klippert

Rep. Brad Klippert plans to introduce legislation to repeal Initiative 502, the voter-approved measure legalizing marijuana, he told TVW. “Possession and consumption of marijuana by our children is skyrocketing. The black market for marijuana is skyrocketing,” he said Wednesday. “It’s not being a positive thing for our state – it’s actually having some negative effects.

The Kennewick Republican will need a majority of lawmakers to agree in order to repeal the measure. Two-thirds of lawmakers must vote repeal, suspend or amend an initiative within two years of passage. Since I-502 was approved in 2012, it doesn’t have to meet that standard and could be repealed by a simple majority, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Other lawmakers have introduced reforms to the state’s legal marijuana system. The so-called “Comprehensive Marijuana Reform Act,” introduced Wednesday, would merge I-502 with the state’s medical marijuana system, which has been largely unregulated since the initiative was implemented.

Another bill Klippert plans to introduce would would make it a crime to kill a fetus in some circumstances. If a suspect kills an unborn child during a crime against the pregnant mother, he or she could be charged with first-degree murder.

Klippert, a Benton County Sheriff’s officer, says the bill comes after he responded to a triple murder with a pregnant victim. “Now, the way the law is written, we cannot charge that suspect with aggravated murder of that child,” he said.

Rep. Roger Goodman, the Kirkland Democrat who chairs the House Public Safety Committee, said the bill will stir debate. “The question of viability or personhood of a child not yet born is probably the most controversial issue that we deal with in the legislature,” Goodman said. “That issue will certainly come up when we hear this proposal.”

Klippert and Goodman will appear on TVW’s The Impact with Anita Kissee at 7 and 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Bill would reduce drug possession charge from felony to misdemeanor

By | January 16, 2015 | 0 Comments

Drug possession would no longer be a felony in Washington state, under a bill being considered in the state House.

Possessing one ounce or less of a controlled substance would become simple misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for drug possession now, as a Class C felony, is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. House Bill 1024 would reduce penalties to a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Rep. Sherry Appleton, Poulsbo Democrat and prime sponsor of the bill, told a House committee Friday that reducing the charge would save the state millions and allow offenders to move on without the barrier of a felony. “We’re still going to hold people accountable,” she said.

A felony makes it difficult for offenders to find jobs, housing and more, Mary Clare Kersten of Sensible Washington told the committee. “Addiction is a illness and it should rightfully be combated with treatment instead of punishment,” she said. “A felony is a label we can’t shed,” she said.

Some worry the bill would encourage addiction. James McMahan Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs said the measure sends the wrong message. “It’s probably time we send the message ‘it’s OK to be sober,’ ” he said.

Appleton says reducing the charge would save the state in prison costs that could be used to fund education and other priorities. Candice Bock says some of that cost would land on cities — about $4.5 million next year.

Voters in California approved a similar measure last year. Lawmakers here tried to pass a similar bill last session, but it did not make it out of the same House committee.

Categories: Courts, Criminal Justice

DSHS seeks legislation for mental health competency services

By | January 7, 2015 | 0 Comments

The state Department of Social and Health Services will seek legislation this session that would allow it to provide some competency rehabilitation services outside of state psychiatric hospitals. The move comes after a federal judge ruled in December that wait times for criminal defendants in jail to be evaluated for competency to stand trial were too long and unconstitutional.

Jane Beyer, Assistant Secretary of Behavior Health and Service Integration at DSHS, told a joint legislative committee on Wednesday that the department acknowledged that some of the wait times were “inappropriate.”

“We do not agree with people waiting in jail as long as they are waiting in jail, and that’s why the governor in his budget had the funding request for additional evaluators and additional forensic beds at state hospitals,” she said.

Inslee’s proposed budget includes $8.8 million to open a new 30-bed forensic ward at Western State Hospital, five beds at Eastern State Hospital and additional staff to address court-ordered competency restoration services.

Currently, restoration services for people found by the court to be incompetent to stand trial are only offered at state psychiatric hospitals. Beyer said DSHS will ask for legislation that would authorize it to offer some of those services in other facilities, possibly modeled after crisis diversion centers in Fife and the Tri-Cities.

“There are individuals who have been charged with a misdemeanor or other low-level, non-violent felony that are willing to take medication,” she said. “I think we can appropriately balance public safety and clinical needs so we can provide competency restoration in places other than state hospitals.”

Otherwise, Beyer said the state will be “confronted with another ward and another ward at the state hospitals” at a cost of tens of millions of dollars in the future.

A trial has been scheduled for March 16 in the lawsuit against DSHS, which was brought by disability rights groups and ACLU of Washington.

Inside Olympia: Paroles & Pardons

By | December 12, 2014 | 0 Comments

Deciding whether to parole or pardon prisoners is a difficult, politically dicey task. Austin Jenkins interviews Gov. Jay Inslee’s General Counsel Nick Brown, Clemency and Pardons Board Chair Jennifer Rancourt, and Indeterminate Sentence Review Board Chair Lynne DeLano.

Watch here:

Backpage sex trafficking case argued before state Supreme Court

By | October 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Protestors rally against Backpage in front of the Supreme Court

A lawyer for Backpage.com argued before the Washington Supreme Court on Tuesday that the website should be granted “complete immunity” from prosecution because it did not write the online ads that resulted in the sex trafficking of three underage girls.

Backpage maintains that the website is immune under the federal Communications Decency Act, which says that an Internet service provider is not liable for the content posted by users.

“It’s clear that Backpage did not create or develop the ads that allegedly harmed the plaintiffs,” Backpage attorney Jim Grant told the court.

But a lawyer for the three victims says that Backpage did play a role in developing the ads.

Erik Bauer told justices that Backpage should be considered an “information content provider” because of its posting guidelines, which he said help traffickers write sex ads that won’t get flagged by law enforcement.

The guidelines include suggestions such as “don’t advertise in time increments of 15 minutes,” and offer a way for pimps to pay for the ads with untraceable prepaid credit cards, Bauer said.

“These so-called posting rules that are on the Backpage website are actually instructions to pimps on how to post an ad that works,” Bauer said.

Grant countered that claim, saying virtually every website has posting guidelines. “Backpage’s rules prohibit illegal content and prohibit improper content, just as Craigslist rules do, just as Facebook rules do, just as Microsoft Windows rules do,” Grant said.

The three victims in the case were between the ages of 13 and 15 when they were trafficked.

The mother of one of the girls told TVW after the hearing that her daughter ran away from home at the age of 15, took a bus to Seattle and within 36 hours was trafficked for sex by a pimp who used Backpage to sell her multiple times a day.

“She’s doing much better today,” her mother said. The pimp was arrested, and she said the next step was to go after the facilitator — Backpage. “I felt it was time Section 230 (of the Communications Decency Act) was looked at,” she said.

The justices will release a decision at a later date. TVW taped the hearing — watch it below:

Drone bill vetoed by Gov. Inslee

By | April 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

Citing privacy concerns, Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed a drone bill Friday and announced he is temporarily banning all state agencies from purchasing or using drones for the next 15 months except during emergencies or natural disasters.

“I’m very concerned about the effects of this new technology on our citizens’ right to privacy,” Inslee said before vetoing a bill that would have put restrictions on how public agencies are allowed to use drones.

House Bill 2789 would have required public agencies such as police departments to obtain a warrant before using a drone, except during emergencies when there is immediate danger of death or injury. It also would have allowed drones to be used for training, testing, wildlife and environmental monitoring.

Calling it “one of the most complex bills” his office has analyzed, Inslee said the measure contained too many ambiguities. In particular, he said the bill has conflicting provisions on the “disclosure and destruction” of personal information collected by the drones.

Inslee said his office will create a task force to study the issue and come up with a new drone bill for the 2015 legislative session. He said he is calling for legislation that provides a “clear and unambiguous” framework for government use of drones.

One of the drone bill’s sponsors, Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon, released a statement saying he was disappointed the governor vetoed a “well-worked, forward-looking” bill that was intended to “protect citizens from being spied on by their government without legal approval.”

“The measure passed both the House and the Senate with strong bipartisan support. It specifically permitted the use of drones for forest-fire surveillance, wildlife management, military training, and emergencies proclaimed by the governor, and it allowed development of the technology to continue,” Morris said. “It’s unfortunate that it’s so difficult to override a veto once regular session has ended. But I will continue working to ensure that we control technology – technology doesn’t control us.”

Governor signs dozens of bills into law

By | March 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

Gov. Jay Inslee signed nearly 50 bills into law during a bill signing ceremony on Thursday, including measures that address tanning beds, alcohol theft, state parks and drunk driving.

Gov. Inslee prepares to sign bills

Among the bills signed by the governor:

House Bill 2155: Gives the Liquor Control Board more authority to take action against liquor stores that have an “unacceptable”  rate of thefts, defined as two or more thefts over six months that result in a minor obtaining alcohol.

House Bill 2163: Makes it illegal for stores to sell a certain type of cough syrup to anyone under the age of 18. Young people are drinking cough syrups that contain dextromethorphan to get high, which Inslee described as a “growing problem.”

Senate Bill 6034: Allows certain types of advertising in state parks to help raise funds. It also allows parks to form partnerships with businesses, tribes, public agencies and other organizations. Parks cannot be renamed after a company.

Senate Bill 6065: Bans teenagers under the age of 18 from using tanning beds, unless UV radiation treatment has been prescribed by a doctor. Tanning salons will be charged $250 for each violation. Inslee acknowledged the parents of a woman who died from melanoma at the bill signing, saying the skin cancer can affect people of all ages. He said the new law will help young people “shield themselves from this increasing risk.”

Senate Bill 6413: Adds five new crimes to the list of offenses that can be counted as prior offenses when a person is charged with a DUI, including operating a boat, aircraft, snowmobile or commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It also includes driving an off-road vehicle in a way that’s “likely to endanger” another person’s property. Inslee said the bill will help “reduce the scourge” of repeat drunk drivers. Lawmakers are continuing to work on legislation to provide full-time monitoring of repeat DUI offenders, he said.

Senate Bill 6424: Creates a state seal of biliteracy for the high school diplomas of students who are proficient in English and one or more other languages, including sign language and Native American languages. “This is a great idea,” Inslee said. “We love having citizens of the world coming out of our schools.”

TVW taped the bill signing and it will be archived at this link.

Inslee also spoke briefly with reporters following the bill signing ceremony about the Oso mudslide. “We do know this could end up being the largest mass loss of Washingtonians,” he said.

The governor said with a full-scale rescue effort underway, “we’re looking for miracles to occur.”

Watch the press conference at this link.

Legislative Year in Review

By | March 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

On this special one-hour edition of “Legislative Year in Review,” we recap the highlights from the 2014 session — from opening day to Sine Die. The show includes debate over issues such as the Dream Act, minimum wage, gun control, abortion insurance bill, death penalty, mental health, teacher evaluations, taxing e-cigarettes and the supplemental budget. Plus, a quick wrap-up of several of the bills that passed this year. Watch the show below:

2014 Roundup: What bills passed, what didn’t pass during session

By | March 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Washington State Legislature adjourned shortly before midnight on Thursday, the final day of the regular 2014 session. It’s the first time since 2009 that lawmakers finished their work without going into an overtime special session.

Here’s an overview of what lawmakers accomplished — and didn’t accomplish — during the session.

PASSED:

Supplemental budget: Both chambers agreed on a supplemental operating budget that spends about $155 million, including $58 for K-12 books and supplies. It also adds additional money to the mental health system, early learning and prisons. It does not include any new taxes or tax breaks, nor does it include teacher pay raises.

Dream Act/Real Hope Act: The Dream Act allows undocumented immigrants to apply for state need grants to help pay for college. The House passed its version of the Dream Act on opening day. The Senate renamed it the Real Hope Act and added $5 million to the state need grant. It was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee in February.

Homeless fees: As part of a last-minute deal, lawmakers agreed to extend until 2019 a $40 document recording fee that people pay during real estate transaction, such as buying or refinancing a house. The fee supports homeless shelters, affordable housing and other services and was scheduled to sunset unless the Legislature took action.

24 credit diploma: Starting with the class of 2019, high school students will have to earn 24 credits for a diploma. The current minimum is 20 credits, although some school districts require more than the minimum. The bill will also provide more opportunities for students to take career and technical classes that meet graduation requirements.

Tanning beds ban: Teenagers under the age of 18 would no longer be allowed to use tanning beds in Washington. Senate Bill 6065 bans minors from using tanning beds, unless they have a written prescription for UV radiation treatment from a doctor. Tanning salons would be fined $250 for violations.

Domestic violence: Washington residents under domestic violence restraining orders will soon be barred from owning guns. The bill says that someone who is under a protection, no-contact, or restraining order related to domestic violence must surrender his or her guns to law enforcement.

Drones: The Legislature approved a bill that puts limits government agencies that use drones, or remote-controlled monitoring devices, for surveillance. An agency may only use a drone after getting a warrant or under several exceptions, such as a fire or other emergency.

Religious holidays: State employees will be allowed to take two unpaid days off a year for religious reasons, and public school children will be excused for two days under a bill approved by the Legislature.

Military in-state tuition: Veterans and active duty military members will soon qualify for in-state tuition at Washington colleges and universities without having to first establish residency. Senate Bill 5318 waives the one-year waiting period for veterans, military members and their families.

Short-barreled rifles: Washington gun owners will soon be allowed to own a short-barreled rifle under a bill approved by the Legislature. It is currently a felony to own a gun with a rifle with a barrel shorter than 16 inches, or to have a modified gun that is shorter than 26 inches overall. (more…)

Limits on government drones advances through Senate

By | March 7, 2014 | 0 Comments

The  Senate advanced a house bill that limits government agencies in their use of drones, remote-controlled monitoring devices, for surveillance, under a bill passed Friday evening.

Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane, said lawmakers weighed a variety of needs.

“We’ve been trying to protect as much as we can the rights of privacy of citizens of our state, and at the same time balance the legitimate needs of law enforcement,” he said.

Sen. Adam Kline, D- Seattle, also spoke in support of the bill.

“It balances the expectations of law enforcement and the rest of us,” Kline said. “This is where law enforcement meets the civil liberties of the citizens of the state of Washington.”

Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, introduced and withdrew several amendments, including one that compels Santa Claus to follow Washington law on drones.

“This is how ridiculous I think this piece of legislation is,” Honeyford said, as he withdrew the Santa Claus amendment.

He said if something can be photographed via plane, it makes no sense to ban drones from taking the same photo.

According to HB 2789 an agency may only use a drone after getting a warrant or under several exceptions:

  • For a non-criminal emergency, such as a fire, with immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury.
  • For training or testing if no personal information is collected.
  • For emergency response during a  governor-declared state of emergency.
  • Environmental or wildlife monitoring or  assessment, when collection of personal data is unlikely.

The bill passed 46 to 1, with Honeyford as the sole vote no.

Categories: Criminal Justice, WA Senate
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Domestic violence gun restriction heads to governor’s desk

By | March 7, 2014 | 0 Comments

Washington residents under domestic violence restraining orders would be barred from having guns, under a bill that passed out of the Legislature and is heading to Gov. Jay Inslee‘s desk.

HB 1840 passed unanimously out of the Senate Thursday night, after senators said that concerns about infringing on Constitutional rights had been addressed.

“There’s due process in this,” said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane. “There has to be a notice, there has to be a hearing and the judge would have to find that the individual whose guns could be removed was a credible threat.”

The bill says that someone who is under a protection, no-contact, or restraining order related to domestic violence must surrender his or her guns to law enforcement. The bill says the person would have to surrender a concealed pistol license while under the order. The bill also prohibits someone under such an order from obtaining a firearm or a concealed pistol license.

Padden said the bill would also increase the safety of police officers responding to domestic violence protection order violations, and that the National Rifle Association had no objection to the bill.

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo, said the bill would also help friends and family of victims of domestic violence, such as one of his constituents whose cared for her mother as the mother recovered from being injured by a domestic violence attack.

Ÿ”She was afraid every day that the partner would show up and perpetrate violence against her family or her mother,” Liias said.

On ‘Legislative Review:’ Death penalty hearing, supplemental budget proposals

By | February 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

On Wednesday’s edition of “Legislative Review,” several family members of murder victims testified at a Senate committee on a bill that would require death penalty cases to go through the state Clemency and Pardons Board process before the governor could issue a reprieve. It was brought in response to Gov. Jay Inslee‘s moratorium on executions while he’s governor.

We also have details on the supplemental budget proposal from House Democrats, as well as public testimony on the Senate’s supplemental budget proposal. Watch the show below:

Categories: Budget, Criminal Justice

House committee passes bill that targets shaved keys

By | February 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

One of thieves’ favorite tools, shaved keys, is getting scrutiny from Washington lawmakers.

The House Public Safety Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 6010 out of committee on Wednesday. The bill would ban the possession of shaved keys, which are altered to fit locks apart from their intended one.

Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirklandadded an amendment to the bill that requires police to find intent to commit a crime before convicting someone who makes, mends or possesses up to 10 shaved keys.

Supporters of the original bill, including Rep. Brad Klippert, R- Kennewick, argued the only purpose of the key is for criminal activity, making it worthy of a misdemeanor.

Mark Marsh with the Edmonds Police Department agreed.

“We come into contact almost daily with people who have shaved keys. Never do they have a legitimate reason to have them. The only reason to have shaved keys is to steal a car, pure and simple,” said Marsh.

The majority of committee members disapproved of original bill that would make having a key the sole grounds for an arrest, but support the amended version that makes intent a part of the arrest process.

Rep. Jeff Holy, R-Cheney, called the original legislation “a liability bill.” Holy said it has potential to not only make wrongful convictions, but it would also give police too much discretion.

In 2012, more than 3,500 motor vehicle thefts were reported in Seattle and there were about 1,900 motor vehicle thefts in Tacoma, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

On ‘Legislative Review:’ Proposal for K-12 funding, prison college courses and crowdfunding

By | February 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

On Tuesday’s edition of “Legislative Review,” we cover a proposal by Senate Democrats to close tax breaks to raise money for education. We also have details on a bill to allow some prison inmates to take state-funded college courses, and another measure that would let Washington entrepreneurs raise money through crowdsourcing.

Watch the show below: