Kitsap Crime and Justice

The Kitsap Sun staff writes about crime and criminal justice issues.
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Hauge’s KUOW Interview on the Death Penalty

March 4th, 2014 by andybinion
cassie holden

Bremerton Sun, June 14, 1988

Russ Hauge, prosecuting attorney, was interviewed last week on KUOW regarding Gov. Jay Inslee’s death penalty moratorium.

 

The invitation to discuss the issue followed a guest column in the Seattle Times, written by Brian Moran, a private practice attorney and former Kitsap deputy prosecutor. Moran later went to work for Rob McKenna when he was attorney general. Moran is listed as the “pro” death penalty voice. You can read it here.

 

Moran was also one of the prosecutors on the Jonathan Gentry case.

 

Gentry, you may remember, was sentenced to die for the 1988 murder of 12-year-old Cassie Holden. He is the longest serving inmate on the state’s death row.

 

Filling in for Moran on Ross Reynolds’ radio show was Hauge, who has been defending the verdict in state and federal appellate courts since taking office in 1994.

 

Although Hauge is being presented as “pro death penalty,” I think his position is more nuanced than that. Judge for yourself. Listen to the interview here.


Kitsap Bar Poll: Enright and Houser finish in front

February 13th, 2014 by andybinion

Kitsap lawyers polled on who should fill a vacant Superior Court seat showed their favorites are Deputy Prosecutor Chad Enright, finishing strong with 22 first choice votes, and public defender Bill Houser, who got 19.

Although missing out in the first choice column, Houser may have finished strongest overall. He received 23 second choice votes to Enright’s six second choice votes.

Houser also took the crown for “most qualified” with 53 votes. Enright and private practice attorney Greg Wall tied for second with 37 “most qualified” votes.

The results of the poll were forwarded Wednesday to Gov. Jay Inslee, who will likely make his pick during the first part of March. He is expected to interview a couple candidates in the coming weeks.

Whoever is picked will have to stand for election shortly after, and is expected to get to work immediately.

The seat was formerly occupied by Steven Dixon, who split Kitsap for the hills of Eastern Washington after being tapped for the only Superior Court seat in Adams County.

The poll has been criticized as a popularity contest. Others see it as a useful tool for gauging the opinions of lawyers about the colleagues. Who knows better a lawyer’s fitness for the robe than his or her peers?

Voting in each column was not required, so nothing kept lawyers from submitting ballots with undervotes. That didn’t stop bar members from giving U.S. Labor Department Specialized Examiner Tracy Flood 57 “not qualified” votes.

The poll was open to active members of the Kitsap Bar Association.


Accused Golf Course Raider Attracts Seattle TV Crew

February 11th, 2014 by andybinion

keep-calm-and-get-off-my-lawn-1

Appearing contrite and hip, the man accused of doing an extended lawn job on the Kitsap Golf and Country Club early Sunday morning appeared on a KOMO news story to plead his case.

Kyle Punt essentially said what anybody says the day after: It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Read the Kitsap Sun story, rich in detail, here.


Kitsap Bar hears from Superior Court applicants

February 7th, 2014 by andybinion

Judge-and-Jury

The 11 Kitsap lawyers applying to fill the open Superior Court seat gave their pitches to their colleagues Friday at the county bar association’s monthly luncheon.

The next to step is for bar members to rank and rate the applicants. The local association plans to forward the poll results to Gov. Jay Inslee’s office next week. Check back here for poll results Wednesday.

Inlsee will decide who will replace Steven Dixon, who left his seat here to take the single Superior Court seat in Adams County, Eastern Washington.

What good is a bar poll? It’s one of the things that Inslee will look at when making his decision, but their value has been questioned. Critics have called them popularity contests, those who think them useful tools consider them “barometers.”

The association has about 210 members, and 75 of them were present at Friday’s luncheon.

The applicants are, in order that they spoke:

-Kati Lappi
-Greg Wall
-Jeff Bassett
-Tracy Flood
-Melissa Hemstreet
-Karen Klein (did not appear)
-Bill Houser
-Diane Russell
-Tom Weaver
-Chad Enright
-Stephen Greer

Poulsbo attorney Matt Clucas headed up the process for the association and said 11 applicants is an expected turnout.

Nick Brown, Inslee’s attorney leading the process from Olympia, said candidate interviews will begin next week. One of two finalists will be asked back for additional interviews, and Inslee will make a decision by the end of the month or the beginning of March.

He said 11 candidates isn’t a lot, and the number is usually a reflection of the size of the county. He said empty court seats in King County have drawn 30-plus applicants, and smaller counties have drawn as many as three or four.


One-on-one with Poulsbo Police Chief Townsend

February 4th, 2014 by andybinion

al townsend

All four of Kitsap County’s cities swore in a new police chief in 2013, but one simply headed up north for his new job.

Poulsbo Police Chief Al Townsend, 47, started as the chief of the Port Orchard Police Department when he was 33 years old.

He took over the smaller department in April, in a smaller community, and has high praise for it. Poulsbo has 17 officers, including Townsend. Port Orchard has 23.

I caught up with Townsend on Tuesday to see how he has been fitting in.

How’s it been going?

It’s a great place, a great group of people, a great community. And the nice thing is that it has allowed me a little bit more time than I had in Port Orchard to work on other little projects, regional concepts, mental health, things like that which are coming up.

What’s different from Port Orchard?

It was a little bit of a busier place. The crime rate is a little bit higher and the structure of the department is a little bit different here. We have really good support, the department developed a little bit differently. The administrative duties I used to do in Port Orchard are taken on by some other people here. The deputy chief does a lot of things operationally, which has freed me up to to do other projects.

What are your enforcement issues in Poulsbo?

Biggest enforcement issues are drugs, property crimes and traffic related things. The common small town issues come up. Obviously the heroin issue that came up earlier in 2013 was a big one and the community really rallied behind that. It was kind of a denial thing at first: Poulsbo is a great city, we can’t have this really as a problem in our community, I’m not sure I’m falling for this. But once people got slapped upside of the head, as the mayor would have said, it took a slap to really understand that the problem existed. People rallied behind that. The mayor and her plan to help eradicate it has been pretty successful I think.

That intertwines with other crimes as well?

Probably about 75 percent of property crimes we’re seeing had some intertwining with drug activity, people stealing stuff to buy drugs. We just put a body into Bremerton’s Special Operations Group, we’re rotating them through on a 30-day trial basis so they can get a feel for it and SOG supervisors can see what they like about the different people who might be interested in it. Hopefully there will be one person there for at least three years. They’ve had some really good cases come out so far.

What kind of changes have your made?

A lot of it is just morale issues, making people feel connected to the department. And making some of those decisions decentralized. Let’s empower people to make decisions on their own. And just being here and trying to get out and work with the troops at night. It’s not rocket science, it’s just a different way of doing business than the way they were used to up here. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from the cops, and the community. And the community really likes their police. One of the things I noticed when I got up here and was walking around and talking to people was that a lot of people knew a police officer by name. In Port Orchard I wouldn’t have saw that. They’re going more call to call down in Port Orchard. We have a little more time between calls here. A little more time to interact with the community, and I think the community really likes that.

You’ve been in law enforcement since 1989, what’s changed?

Tell you one thing for sure, on drug side, never seen heroin like it is today in my 25 years in law enforcement. In the old days, like on TV, heroin was in back alleys, kind of that disgusting drug, nobody had anything to do with. It is everywhere now. And it is cheap. And as the Percocet and some of those tablets are becoming more expensive and they’ve changed the makeup of them, people had to switch from that to something else. Meth is harder to get now that precursor drugs are being more controlled and so it’s put a lot of pressure back onto the heroin thing. And it’s readily available and it’s cheap. It’s kind of become the drug of choice I think. You can buy a hit of it, or whatever you call it, for what a 12-pack of beer costs. For somebody who needs to go that next step, that’s a pretty cheap drug.

Technologically?

Huge changes. When I started you had three-part reports and you filled them out on paper and that is it. Polaroids. We took Polaroids. It’s amazing, now we’re taking photos with phone, uploading into a cloud system. Finger printing systems, you have live scans instead of ink prints.

For a line officer has it made it more difficult?

In a lot of ways it’s a little more difficult. They can get more data, and be more informed, but there is process to follow there. There is so much expectation on cops that they use all these other technologies and skills, and responses to mental illness, and new levels of training, new things have to develop. There are a lot more special interest groups, special responses to different issues that we expect them to know. So, yeah, I think it’s a more difficult job than it was. It seemed like 25 yeas ago it was much simpler to me.


Super Bowl ‘rioting’ likely made Seattle neighborhoods safer

February 3rd, 2014 by andybinion

12th man 1

In some cities, a team winning a national championship might result in the kind of fanfare expected at Armageddon.

But this is the Northwest. We love our crowd violence, but not when it comes to a measly Super Bowl win. It may be hard for outsiders to understand that while we are passionate about our teams, we keep ourselves pretty high.

Some climbing on buildings and signs in Pioneer Square, two people shot, and college kids lighting a few couches on fire in the University District?

This means there was actually less crime and violence in those neighborhoods than usual.

It’s unknown if the shootings were related to celebrations, or people furious that the Pergola had been damaged. The Pergola, if you don’t know, is an important symbol in the history of crack in Seattle.  Hopefully it will be repaired, and lots of crack will be smoked under it again.

Here in Kitsap County, there was a report of a couple fights at a bar on Perry Avenue at about midnight. Cops came, told everybody to go home. So they did.

If the Internet is to be believed, however, the barbarians have overrun the streets.

Something called infowars.com had this to say:

“Seattle Seahawks fans reacted to their team’s Super Bowl victory by behaving like animals – lighting fires, damaging historic buildings and ripping down street signs during raucous scenes last night.”

What kind of animals use fire, InfoWars? Most animals don’t even have opposable thumbs.

Another media outlet, Breitbart News, its name derived from a Spanish obscenity, fantasized that riot police restored order.

After the Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl in franchise history on Sunday, fans in Seattle jumped on cars, took over intersections, torched couches, and riot police had to be brought in to restore order.

Let’s be honest: those couches needed to be torched anyway.

One venerable outlet, called American Live Wire, ran a headline that breathlessly cried, “Seattle Riots 2014 After Winning Super Bowl.” Here are the facts that supported the headline:

At least one bonfire had been started near the University of Washington campus.

At least … one?

The New York Daily News, whatever that is, said six people were arrested when crowds turned unruly. Sounds like they may have got that from the Seattle Times, which said six arrests were made throughout the city. The crowd on Capitol Hill had been posing for photos with police all night.

XXX

All together, it was a fun and safe time had by almost everybody. The world thinks we are animals, the Denver Broncos realized they might as well text “jk?” and a smiley emoticon to Tim Tebow and Seattle can now sit smug with the knowledge that our team won the the Super Bowl of Super Bowls: The Super Bowl.

UPDATE: Here is a post from the Seattle police on dealing with those animal 12th Men.

UPDATE: I removed a paragraph from the lower middle section. It just bugged me. It was critical of Seattle police, and made fun of their reputation for being heavy-handed, but like any time you make fun of a group based on their reputation, it didn’t reflect accurately on all the Seattle officers who do a good job and a harder job because of that reputation. Nobody said anything to me, this was my decision. It was a Richard Sherman moment. Carry on.


Measure to allow DNA testing of felony suspects gets hearing

January 31st, 2014 by andybinion
devil

Credit: The Economist

A bill to allow police to take DNA samples from people who have been arrested, but not convicted, got a hearing in Olympia on Friday.

But even if approved, its sponsor believes it will be challenged in state court.

Currently, those convicted of a felony and some lesser crimes are required to give a sample. Usually the test is done by swabbing the inside of a person’s cheek. If approved, the sample would be taken when a suspect is lodged in jail — along with fingerprints and photographs — but would not be immediately used in an investigation without court review.

Supporters believe the evidence could be used to help police stop sex criminals. Civil libertarians say its invasive and a violation of a person’s rights.

State Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, is sponsoring the measure in response to the case of a serial rapist who might have been stopped in his tracks if authorities had his DNA in the database.

State Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, has also signed onto the measure.

Last summer KUOW did a story on the measure, where Darneille said this:

“Some of those crimes were completely heinous. One of them involved holding three women hostage in a home and repeatedly raping, raping, raping, raping.”

Although last summer the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the practice as constitutional, and 28 states do it already, the court challenge would likely say the measure violates the state constitution, which offers stronger civil liberties protections than the U.S. Constitution.

Comes now, this explanation of the bill, from a statement from its sponsor:

Under the bill, DNA samples would be collected at the time of booking from any adults arrested for a ranked felony offense or selected gross misdemeanor offenses. (Examples include violation of protection orders related to domestic violence, sexual assault, marital dissolution, child custody disputes, abuse of vulnerable adults or a foreign protection order.)

The DNA sample would not be opened or analyzed by a Washington State Patrol Crime Lab technician unless judicial findings of probable cause were established. The sample would then be uploaded to the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The only information that is added to CODIS is the originating lab identifier, a randomly generated specimen number, 13 genetic markers that do not contain any medical information other than gender, and an identifier for the lab analyst. If the court does not affirm probable cause, the untested sample would be destroyed.


Man injured in North Kitsap plane crash in ‘serious’ condition

January 24th, 2014 by andybinion

A Kent man injured when his small airplane crashed in North Kitsap on Monday has improved as of Friday evening, but has not recovered and is still in the hospital

Kent Curtis, 70, was listed in serious condition Friday, according to a nursing supervisor at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

He had been listed in critical condition earlier this week. The medical state of “serious” is considered one step above “critical.”

Curtis had taken off from an Auburn airport. He crashed near Poulsbo, near Lincoln and Noll roads.


Mexican murder suspect photo

January 21st, 2014 by andybinion

ICE deports Kitsap County man wanted in Mexico murder

Comes now, late to the party, this Jan. 16 photo provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Bremerton man recently deported back to Mexico to face murder charges.

The warrant naming Fabian Godinez-Osguera, 37, also known as “Guero Loco,” is from 2001. This deportation is his fourth.

The photo isn’t the best, as his face is obscured by a masked federal agent, which is why it didn’t get published with the story.

Here is the text from the media release:

A former Kitsap County man was deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operation (ERO) Thursday to Mexico where he faces homicide charges.
 
Fabian Godinez-Oseguera, 37, also known as “El Güero Loco,” was turned over to Mexican authorities at the U.S.-Mexico border at El Paso, Texas. Godinez-Oseguera was escorted by ERO officers from the Seattle area, where he was held in ICE custody prior to his removal.
 
According to a 2001 arrest warrant issued by the Mexican state of Colima, Godinez-Oseguera is charged with aggravated homicide for the October 2000 murder of Arnoldo Farias Cisneros in the city of Tecomán. Godinez-Oseguera has an extensive U.S. criminal record, including felony convictions for weapons possession, drug trafficking and illegal reentry after deportation.
 
“Criminals who seek to escape responsibility for their actions by fleeing to the United States will find no sanctuary in our communities,” said Nathalie Asher, field office director for ERO Seattle. “ICE works closely with law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad to promote public safety and hold criminals accountable – no matter where they commit their crimes.”
 
Department of Homeland Security records show Godinez-Osegurea has been deported five times since 2000. ICE officials credit recent strides in criminal record information sharing between the U.S. and Mexican governments as the reason Godinez-Oseguera will now answer for the crime he allegedly committed more than a decade ago.
 
Godinez-Oseguera was remanded to ERO custody in December 2012 after serving 13 months in federal prison for felony reentry after deportation. He was held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma pending the outcome of his immigration case, which concluded last December, paving the way for his removal.
 
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 566 foreign fugitives from the United States who were being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with ICE’s Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.


It’s getting Hawkish all up in here

January 17th, 2014 by andybinion
12th man at courthouse

At the courthouse Friday, somebody made an impromptu shrine to the 12th Man.

You might think that a man facing about 10 years in prison would have important things on his mind.

And you would be right. In this case, it is the Seattle Seahawks.

Yes, it’s true. A man happily put off going to prison so he could watch the Super Bowl. I believe he believes the Seahawks will be in the game. I hope he is right.

Tyler F. Freeman Williams pleaded guilty on Friday to a host of felonies, including leading organized crime, pimping, witness tampering and cocaine dealing.

Following the change of plea, Superior Court Judge Anna Laurie asked if he was ready to be sentenced.

Williams lawyer said he wanted more time to prepare a brief intended to make Freeman’s case for why leniency may be warranted.

If they are destined for prison anyway, many inmates want to get it on. Prison, in Washington state, is generally a better environment than county jail, where inmates are held for trial and to serve sentences up to a year.

In prison one gets to wear street clothes, there are recreation programs, and free time.

But postponing the sentencing hearing until Feb. 14 was fine with Freeman. The Super Bowl is scheduled for Feb. 2.

To make his point, Freeman pointed to a Seattle Seahawk tattoo on his arm.

To read the story and watch the video.


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