I wasn’t alone in wondering this question: How can we be cutting corrections officers — a scaling back of the criminal justice system — just as a man slaughters four police officers execution style?
” … The risk of a high-profile case such as Clemmons’s is that it will bring a backlash leading to a wrong policy,” they wrote. “That it will continue to discourage clemency, for instance, or that it will somehow slow the momentum toward reform.”
Is it time to chance policy in criminal justice — particularly in the way pardons and commutations are doled — in the wake of this tragedy? What do you think?
It’s official: King County will send inmates to Kitsap if the Green River floods sometime this year or in 2010.
The Associated Press confirmed today that the King County Council has approved an agreement to bring up to 114 to Kitsap if the Green River floods the Regional Justice Center in Kent.
I spoke with Ned Newlin, Kitsap County’s chief of corrections, today about the logistics. He said King County will get space in an unused, older portion of the jail and inside the soon-to-be closed work release facility. King County will pay $28 per day, per inmate for such use, and will provide its own corrections staff (hence why they’re not paying the regular $80 per inmate per day that cities like Port Orchard pay).
King County is bracing for possible Green River flooding because of a weakened abutment at the Howard Hanson Dam.
(Photo of King County’s Regional Justice Center from King County’s web site.)
How “local” should 911 centers be? On one hand, a regionwide 911 call center could coordinate well with many different emergency responders and save money through economies of scale. On the other hand, a local dispatch center provides local jobs and ensures that dispatchers are acutely knowledgeable of their territory, guiding responders to every nook and cranny in the county.
These very issues were at stake in an article Wednesday in the Port Townsend Leader. In Jefferson County, leaders are contemplating farming out dispatch services to either Clallam or Kitsap county, says Allison Arthur.
The first sentence to her story says it all:
“Call 911 today in Jefferson County and odds are the dispatcher answering the call lives in the county and knows where the buffalo roam off State Route 19.”
How much is that worth? That’s what Jefferson County, it seems, must decide.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision two weeks ago may have gone by with little fanfare, but its monumental impact will be felt across the country.
Arizona vs. Gant concerned a man convicted of cocaine possession. He’d been driving with a suspended license, and when arrested on suspicion of that charge, police searched his car.
As a regular reader of the county’s police reports, I can tell you that many felony cases are developed after police find a driver with a warrant, and then are able to search his or her car. They could find drugs, bundles of other people’s mail, or evidence or other criminal activity. And no crime gave the cops a chance to look inside more often than driving with a suspended license, or “DWLS” for short.
Spending the day with community corrections officers was quite an experience. If you’ve seen the story, you know that they wear many hats in their line of work.
Attempting to keep in line some of society’s most hardened criminals can’t be easy. And there are definitely some quirks to their line of work. Among them I found that:
Martin Warren, who pleaded guilty last month to the second-degree murder of his father after his first conviction for the crime was overturned on appeal, was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison Monday morning.
Judge M. Karlynn Haberly called it “a very tragic case.” And while she felt sympathy for Warren, 39, due to some of the actions of the father he ultimately killed, the judge felt justice demanded the sentence.
“The things that Martin Warren’s father did … were horrific to say the least, ” she said. “But he does deserve to be punished for this crime.”
Warren (left) was convicted of first-degree murder in October 2006 and he was sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of his father, 61-year-old Russell Warren, at their Seabeck home.
But the District II Court of Appeals in Tacoma overturned that conviction, saying that Warren’s attorney led jurors to believe that their only options in the case were a conviction on first-degree murder charges or “outright acquittal.” The appeals court said that constituted ineffective assistance of counsel.
The State Legislature has voted unanimously in favor of a bill that would give crime victims a chance to voice their opinions on their offender’s placement in the prison system’s work release program.
And the effort all started here in Kitsap.
House Bill 1076, introduced twice in as many years by Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island (pictured), mandates the Department of Corrections to “consider” a victim’s input, and based on such testimony, DOC could change its decision about an offender’s work release placement.
The bill’s passage into law now only awaits Gov. Christine Gregoire’s signature.
The last prison in America located on a remote island is on the chopping block.
The territorial prison there got its first prisoners — two men who’d sold booze to Native Americans and one who’d robbed a fort store — in 1875, according to HistoryLink. When I visited the place last spring, the man who provided escort for me on the ferry ride told me an interesting fact. It wasn’t built for Alcatraz-like security reasons (i.e. its icy cold water surroundings) but rather because that’s just the way everyone commuted back then.
State Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo (left), was one of only two lawmakers to vote against a bill that would restrict prisoners’ public record requests. This fact was pointed out by commenter “Fedup” on this blog yesterday, and made me curious to find out why she stood up against nearly all of her fellow legislators.
First, a quick recap: Senate Bill 5130 aims to give judges the authority to block prisoners’ public records requests if they find they’re for the purposes of harassment. One other lawmaker in both houses voted against it aside from Appleton.
Here was her rationale.
“I voted against the bill because it means that (The Department of Corrections) could or (The Department of Social and Health Services) could turn down requests for documents of prisoners who have legitimate reasons for requesting records,” she wrote on email. “Many prisoners represent themselves, pro se, and this means it will be harder to obtain records.”
“This is a question of justice,” she added.
She believes that in cases of harassing public records requests, those who are victimized in them — be it a law enforcement officer, lawyer, or otherwise — are already protected.
” … The statutes already protect confidential information such as address, phone number and family members,” she wrote. “The problem is that the agencies are not enforcing the tools the have. Hence my no vote.”
I interviewed State Attorney General Rob McKenna, and he disagreed with such an assessment. He said there’s a group of about 10 inmates who are abusing the power of the public records request. I’ll have more on that in an upcoming story.
First, here’s why McKenna’s office, which wrote the bill, advocated for it, taken from their web site: