Kitsap Crime and Justice

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

Encounters Along A Murder Story

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

On any given day in this business, you never know who you’re going to come across.

I awoke Wednesday to a call from Sun photographer Larry Steagall, who had heard over his police scanner that there’d been a killing in Bremerton.

After going to the scene, I met up with another of our “photogs,” Carolyn J. Yaschur, and listened in on the police department’s press conference. Bottom line: a Bremerton woman, Kimberly Shine, was brutally killed allegedly by her brother with an ax. (Read the story I wrote about it here.)

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Accolades

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

I attended the swearing-in ceremony for a new class of Bremerton cops Thursday, an event that included a list of awards for its current officers.

I’m always looking for ways to give credit where credit is due. And while newsprint space can be somewhat limited, the blogosphere provides a boundless place where we can run the full list of accolades.

Here they are, as announced by Chief Craig Rogers and Bremerton’s two captains, Tom Wolfe and James Burchett:

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Sex Offenders: How Far Do We Go?

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Virtually every state in the country has enacted special measures against sex offenders. Washington is no exception.

A few states — namely Georgia and Iowa — have established the most stringent laws, creating de facto banishment for communities for some offenders.

How? By requiring offenders to live hundreds, sometimes thousands of feet from school bus stops. It makes living in a community almost impossible.

One story by the Washington Post ran as our “editor’s choice” on the Kitsap Sun’s front page a few weeks back. I also wrote a story looking at Washington’s current and new sex offender laws.

Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge told me that Washington’s laws are some of the toughest in the country, primarily due to “determinant plus” sentencing. That sentencing re-evaluates offenders at the end of their prison terms and examines whether they should be released or civil confined indefinitely.

That’s a fate that may be awaiting Kevin Coe (pictured from his 1981 trial), the so-called “South Hill rapist” from Spokane. Though he’s served a 25-year sentence, the state’s attorney general’s office is attempting to keep Coe confined at McNeil Island, where about 236 other sex predators are being held past their criminal sentences.

Though numerous new sex offender laws have been passed in Washington in the past year (see a list of them here), one that has caused some confusion of late is the creation of “community protection zones.”

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Roadside Memorials: Hazard or Reminder?

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

We see them virtually anytime we take a trip down a county road or state highway. Yet roadside memorials in Kitsap are sometimes a source for debate.

Usually a remembrance to a friend or relative who’s died while driving, the memorials come in the form of both private, “makeshift” crosses, flowers and other personal mementos and the official state and county signs that bear a simple message like “Please Don’t Drink and Drive.”

Roadside memorials are regulated by the government. The state’s regulations, however, are very different from Kitsap county’s.

The laws about them are based on the impacts they have on motorists. There are those who believe they are hazardous and are distracting, and there are others who believe they serve as a reminder to be careful and not drink and drive.

How do you feel about roadside memorials?


Bait Cars ‘Reel’ in Crooks

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

A story in the Washington Post today chronicled law enforcement’s sometimes-use of “bait cars” to catch car thieves in Washington D.C.

If you remember back in May, we did a series of stories on car theft, including the Washington State Patrol’s use of bait cars to catch crooks in the act. A tough crime to prove, “bait cars” provide fairly indisputable evidence of a theft.

Check out the Post’s story here.


Thirty

Monday, December 11th, 2006

Area law enforcement arrested 30 drivers over the weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office.

County prosecutor Russell Hauge called the number of arrests over the weekend “larger than average,” but said his office expects the increase during a time of year when more people are drinking and driving and more law enforcement is on the streets looking for intoxicated drivers.

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A Not-So Bright Week for Kitsap’s Offenders

Friday, December 8th, 2006

A dropped cell phone during an armed robbery. An escape from work release with only 16 days to go in a jail sentence. The culprit’s license plate left behind at the scene of a hit-and-run.

All in all, not the brightest week for a few alleged offenders in Kitsap County.

It started with Jeffrey S. Jolibois, 44, who had a little more than two weeks to go on his work release jail sentence for DUI.

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A Classic “Remember When”

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Here’s a great story from our archives that I wanted to share with you. This comes courtesy of my local news editor, Ann Strosnider, and is from the Bremerton Sun in 1931, in the days of prohibition.

“Who knows when grape juice is wine? Kitsap experts fail to agree. A jury of five women and seven men, after deliberating about three hours last night, acquitted Marcus Shauhun, Bremerton shoemaker, of possessing liquor.
Shauhun insisted it was simply juice made from pressed grapes. But the witnesses and jurors couldn’t agree on the potency of the 39 gallons of beverage seized at Marcus’ home by sheriff’s deputies. Sheriff Blankenship testified that a half glass of the alleged wine was enough to give him that sensation commonly engendered by intoxicants.
Prosecutor James W. Bryan declared that after he drank a small portion he “could feel it coursing through his veins.”
One of the woman jurors, however, said she felt no effects whatever after an
entire glassful. Defense Attorney Ray Greenwood was permitted to taste the beverage and said it was all right, but added, “I don’t care much for wine, anyway.”
Failure of Kitsap officials to have an analysis made at the time of the seizure greatly weakened the state’s case.”


Kitsap Crime and Justice Review: November

Friday, December 1st, 2006

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting the weekly review of crime and justice stories these past few weeks.

I’ve opted instead to try the monthly approach, one that I think will offer you more of a one-stop look at stories.

I am certainly open to suggestions, but in the mean time, here’s the review for the month of November.

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