Kitsap Crime and Justice

The Kitsap Sun staff writes about crime and criminal justice issues.
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Archive for January, 2006

Olympia Divided on Sex Offender Issue

Monday, January 30th, 2006

In 2005, the most paramount issue in the State Legislature — raising the gas tax to fund billions in transportation projects — came at the tail end of the session, as lawmakers fought tooth and nail on both sides of the debate.

Thus far this year, the issue that has come to the forefront is how the state handles its convicted sex offenders. And by contrast, the debate began, “Within minutes of the Legislature’s ceremonial opening gavels falling at the Capitol,” according to David Ammons, Political Writer for the Associated Press.

In a time in which Democrats control both the state House of Representatives and the Senate (not to mention the governor’s mansion), Republicans have recognized that it will take some evasive political maneuvering to get certain messages across. Thus, on opening day, they brought to the floor about 170 page-long House Bill 2476 — which, most notably, would increase sex offender sentences to a minimum of 25 years for child molestation, and 30 years for child rape — in an attempt to advance their Legislation quickly.

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A Fitting Punishment?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

More than 130 readers took an informal poll on kitsapsun.com after we ran a story about the Kitsap County Prosecutors Office recommending a 13 1/2 year sentence for Bremerton resident Raven Hudson, 22, who plead guilty Friday to second-degree murder.

About 90 percent of those surveyed felt the sentence was simply not long enough for the crime.

Hudson shot and killed Janet Eaton, 43, who was standing outside her Sixth Avenue apartment near 7-Eleven. The pair evidently did not know each other before that late August night.

When the prosecutors made the call to recommend 13 1/2 years — while fellow convicted murder Roy Kenneth Stillwagon, 27, who shot and killed Leonard Brown III on Washington Avenue only five days earlier — had gotten 64 1/2 years, I wondered how readers would react.

Sure enough, readers, by and large, were mostly surprised and many were angered (see results of the poll here).

But the cases are highly complicated and involve their own set of circumstances. The key difference: prosecutors thought they had the evidence to put Stillwagon away for first-degree murder, but not enough in Hudson’s case.

If you were a prosecutor, what would you do?


Taser in Action

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

I was riding along with Bremerton Police’s morning shift last Thursday when we got a 911 call from an assisted living home in East Bremerton for a man claiming he was “talking to God” on his balcony.

Little did I know that the call would provide a first-hand look at a new tool that most officers I’ve talked to claim is the most effective one added to law enforcement in years.

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A Tragic Tale (Or, looking for a pen pal)

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

From an Alabama prison, a former Kitsap County resident wrote a letter to us detailing a tragic tale — and a plea for help.

Charles Kolb addressed the letter to “Kitsap Sun, Editor,” in Bremerton, and left no other specifications. He begins by saying that he was born in Kitsap but early in his childhood his family decided to move to California.

However, while they were moving, he says his parents were killed in a car crash, and he was put up for adoption.

“The hospital contacted some of my relatives,” he says, “But they would not accept me.”

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Bungle a Burglar

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006

When attempting to protect against burglaries, Kitsap Sheriff’s Deputies spokesman Scott Wilson says its best to provide “defense in depth.”

“The key thing here is lock your doors and windows,” Wilson said. “Lock your cars. Better yet — lock your cars in your garage and lock them.”

A slew of burglaries hit Kitsap over the four-day weekend, one many residents chose to hit the road for a short vacation. Kitsap’s burglars might have utilized a family vacation as an opportunity.

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