Local lawyers to vote for their preference to replace Judge Laurie

Curious about the seven candidates seeking to be appointed to a Kitsap Superior Court seat being vacated?

Here they are, presented in order they appear on the local bar ballot, to be distributed tomorrow to dues-paying members.

-Jeffrey Bassett

-Rennison Bispham

-Roger Dunaway

-Alexis Foster

-Stephen Greer

-Melissa Hemstreet

-Thomas Weaver

Gov. Jay Inslee’s lawyer, Nick Brown, said earlier this week the governor takes into consideration the local bar’s opinion, and would personally interview one to two of the finalists.

It’s Judge Anna Laurie’s seat that is being vacated. She plans to enter retirement at the end of the month. Brown said Inslee would like to have somebody in place by no later than the first part of July.

Felon arrested by deputy watching from inside Jack in the Box

drive thru

A crafty Kitsap sheriff’s deputy, watching from inside the Silverdale Jack-in-the-Box drive-thru at 3 a.m. for suspects in a stolen gun case, didn’t make the arrest he was planning on making, but instead arrested a violent felon on a parole violation.

The deputy had spotted the tan Mercedes pulling into the drive-through Saturday, and found it was registered to a couple suspected of leaving behind a stolen gun at a Bremerton motel last month, according to court documents.

In order to confirm the identity of the people in the car, the deputy “formulated a plan” to watch from the drive-thru window. He contacted an employee inside, who let him in, and the deputy watched as the car pulled forward.

It wasn’t the criminals he was looking for, but behind the wheel was a criminal, a 25-year-old convicted of first-degree robbery wanted for a state Department of Corrections warrant.

Deputies arrested the man without incident, after he got his food. The man said he had been driving the car for about a month. Before booking him into jail on the warrant, the deputy found a scale covered in small specks of heroin. The man said the scale was used to weigh pot, and it didn’t belong to him.

Is there a new law protecting dogs in cars? Yes. Yes, there is

dog deal with it


Last week Gov. Jay Inslee signed a measure making it a civil violation to leave a dog in a car when it’s too hot or too cold out.

SB 5501 applies to more than just dogs, and it applies to more than just cars, and it gives legal protection to first responders who might break a window to free an animal withering in the heat of a car. (Inslee also line item veto’d some language in the bill applying to backyard livestock)

The law does not, however, give protections to passers by who might enter a car to save an animal, but local law enforcement officials have said if a person honestly believes an animal is in danger, they would not face prosecution.

Sandra Crump, a Poulsbo resident I profiled last summer who regularly patrols parking lots, hunting for animals in distress, called the bill a big step forward.

She believes the way to normalize kindness toward animals starts with the law. For some, she said, the threat of a fine provides the initial nudge. Additionally, she said the new law signals to society that a shift is taking place, and although the new law doesn’t do a whole lot — it provides for a civil fine of $125 — the publicity the law has received plants the seed.

Things are changing, she said.

“Even the pope says dogs have souls,” Crump said.


Man who pleaded to L & I fraud for BMX racing says there is another side to the story

tony perry


Tony Perry Sr. has dealt with a lot of pain in his life.

He claimed his father struck him in the head when he was child, requiring a plate to be implanted.

He walks with a limp, and in fact, his whole left side aches or is numb. That’s one of the reasons he likes to race BMX bikes. He may lumber through life on his own two legs, but on two wheels, he’s quick and graceful.

And racing BMXs, while he allegedly stated he was too injured to work and misrepresented the cause of an injury, is what got Perry in trouble.

Facing prosecution from the state for fraud, the 52-year-old Port Orchard man pleaded guilty last month to two counts of third-degree theft for what the state Attorney General’s Office says was his theft of about $14,000 in disabled worker benefits.

“I didn’t want to be plead, I didn’t think I did anything wrong,” he said.

The $14,000 figure is how much he received in workers’ compensation checks from January 2012 to August 2013, according to the AG statement.

“I did everything they told me to do,” Perry said, calling the AG’s statement a “one-sided story.”

Perry said he was offered the deal, and he understands there are no guarantees when you go to trial, so he took it, but it still smarts.

“Now I’m a thief because I’m riding a bicycle,” he said, claiming that he kept his doctors informed of his hobby, and with their encouragement continued racing.

Perry said a doctor said it was good for his lungs, good for his legs, and Perry said it was good for his head as well. He also said he did not make statements to the state Department of Labor and Industries, claiming the information the department received came from his doctors. The same doctors, he said, told him exercise would do him good.

“I’m not Josh Klatman,” Perry said, referring to the BMX pro from Kitsap. “I just wanted to do it for recreation and for my health.”

Note: This story was modified Jan. 23, 2017. Perry was the sole source for the information contained in this story.

Pierce County prosecutors: No charges in Shaw death because woman was escaping sexual assault


photoThe reason Pierce County prosecutors passed on pressing charges against a woman involved in the Sept. 14 death of South Kitsap legend Leon Shaw was because they believe evidence shows that she was escaping a sexual assault.

Deputy Prosecutor Tim Jones, who specializes in traffic related death cases like vehicular homicide, reviewed the case file and made the call to decline charges. He said Tuesday the incident on the Key Peninsula where Shaw was killed was likely a sexual assault, but, also, if prosecutors pursed charges against the woman they would not likely get a conviction (read the full and complete story here and read Shaw’s epic obituary here).

“I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a wealth of evidence, but there is a sufficient amount of evidence of a sexual assault that she was probably escaping,” Jones said. “Put that in front of a jury and they would say, ‘What are you thinking?’”

Two rape kits were completed, but the results were not included in the package of reports the Kitsap Sun received as part of its public records request. Jones said he was not at liberty to discuss the results of those tests.

Also not included in the public documents were the woman’s medical records. A Washington State Patrol drug test on the woman’s blood found meth and booze, but no evidence of barbiturates. However, Jones said a search warrant of hospital records and blood samples did find barbiturates in the woman’s system. There was also evidence in the woman’s system of another drug that could impair memory or cause a blackout, Jones said.

The woman, according to her recorded statement to Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies, said Shaw had given her a pill he said was aspirin to help with the pain of the tattoo she was receiving. At some point after that she blacked out. She claimed she was drinking liquor, but not a lot of liquor, and said she can hold her booze. The tattoo artist friend said she took four big shots of Crown Royal whiskey on top of what she had already consumed.

If Shaw had survived the incident, Jones said it was hard to say if he would have been charged with a sexual assault. Shaw’s tattoo artist friend said no assault occurred, Shaw would have had the right to be silent and the woman said she doesn’t remember anything beyond making out with Shaw while she lied on a table getting a tattoo of a flower on her chest.

“I don’t know if she would be credible in reporting it, because she has got this blank spot,” Jones said.

Jones said if you consider the just the death and crash, it might appear like pretty clear-cut case of vehicular homicide.

“It’s pretty simple, get drunk, drive, crash, kill somebody in Pierce County you will probably go to prison,” he said.

However, the facts of the case are not that simple (see links above).


Judge Laurie to retire at end of June

judge laurie

Kitsap Superior Court Judge Anna Laurie wrote Gov. Jay Inslee today to say she will retire effective June 30.

Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith confirmed the letter, and said Inslee’s office will post notice of the vacancy soon.

Although judges can have a reputation for being no-nonsense while conducting their courtrooms, those who have been present to see Laurie finalize adoptions know she has a soft side.

This from a story I wrote last year about a finalization ceremony:

Some of the parents tried to quiet the young ones as Judge Anna Laurie spoke, but she told them not to worry.

“You don’t have to shush those children,” Laurie said, who was adopted from foster care as an infant. “You have no idea how joyous that noise is for me.”

This from Laurie’s page on the county courts website (it doesn’t mention that Laurie, like me, is from Renton):

Judge Laurie graduated from Highline Community College with an Associates in Arts degree.  She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Washington, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology.  She later returned to the University of Washington to earn a Juris Doctorate.

After her graduation, she settled in Kitsap County and practiced law in Bremerton from 1982 to 2001 when she was elected to the Kitsap County Superior Court Bench.

Solved: The mystery of the Highway 16 dancer


A 33-year-old man was charged Friday with possession of meth after Washington State Patrol troopers investigated a report  of a man “dancing” in the median of Highway 16 near the Tremont Street exit.

“The report matched similar incidents of a male in the median, sometimes hiding in the bushes, reported by passing motorists since the summer of 2014,” a trooper wrote in court documents. “I have responded to many of these calls was never able to observe the individual.”

Two troopers responding to the March 2 call, which was dispatched at about 6:50 a.m., didn’t see a male in the median. One noticed a large hole in a fence leading to a neighborhood off Tremont, however, and when he stepped through the hole he saw a man matching the description of the suspect.

The troopers got back in their vehicles and drove into the neighborhood. When they caught up with the man, he was “moving erratically,” the trooper wrote, “flailing his arms about in an animated fashion.”

When they approached him, the man appeared to discard a used meth pipe from his pocket, though he denied it was his, according to the document. During a search of the man, the trooper also found suspected meth.

“I asked (the man) about the meth, noting that it was the old home-cooked style that was prevalent several years ago,” the trooper wrote.

“(The man) stated that I was correct, that it was locally cooked.”

Deliberations begin in Kingston man’s second trial for shaking death of baby daughter


A Kitsap County Superior Court jury started deliberations Wednesday in the case of a Kingston man accused of shaking his infant daughter to death in July.

It is the second time Hector Francisco Saavedra Ruiz, 22, has stood trial for the death of 5-month-old Natalie. The first trial, in February, ended in a hung jury.

Saavedra Ruiz is charged with second-degree murder, but before trial prosecutors added a charge of first-degree manslaughter.*

Prosecutors have alleged that Saavedra Ruiz and the child’s mother, Kayla DesRochers, smoked meth then Saavedra Ruiz took the child to visit his coworkers at the Puerto Vallarta Mexican restaurant on Highway 104 July 16.

When Saavedra Ruiz returned, the child was not breathing. Natalie died in the hospital two days later. An autopsy found she had injuries consistent with being shaken.

DesRochers told investigators differing accounts of what happened that night. Also, a juror on the first trial said testimony raised questions about a broken rib on the child that was healing in light of testimony from DesRochers stating Saavedra Ruiz had little or no unsupervised contact with Natalie prior to that night.

Natalie was one of two infant girls alleged to have died in 2014 after being shaken by their fathers. Christopher Mayo, 20, is scheduled to be sentenced May 1 after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for the death of 10-week-old AnnaBelle in October. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors will ask that Mayo be sentenced to 14 years in prison.

*Prosecutors attempted to file this charge, but it was not filed.

Mystery helicopters most likely not the Easter bunny, United Nations



The whump whump of a helicopter heard thundering above Central Kitsap during the early hours of Easter morning was likely a King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter on its way to help rescue an injured hiker in Jefferson County.

Reports of the low-flying helicopter came in from Seabeck to Silverdale and Bremerton, where windows were rattled, sleep was disturbed, questions were raised and the possibility of a United Nations invasion was pondered (by me).

The King County helicopter was sent to The Brothers mountains – across Hood Canal from Seabeck – to hoist the hiker and take him to Harborview Medical Center, said Deputy BJ Myers, spokesman for the office. The office’s Facebook page was updated at 12:25 a.m. to say the helicopter, known as Guardian 2, was preparing to launch.

Myers said the helicopter is known as being noisy. One person in Silverdale said it sounded like it was going to land on their roof. A man in Seabeck commented it did two passes over his house, which he found “rude.”

“It’s a super loud helicopter,” Myers said. “I know exactly what they are talking about.”

There was a medical airlift from Bainbridge Island at about 4:30 a.m. following a car crash. Tom Struck of Airlift Northwest said the helicopter took off from Boeing Field, went directly to Bainbridge and then flew to Harborview Medical Center.

“There’s no reason for us to do anything but fly a straight line back and forth,” he said, noting that the medical airlift helicopters are relatively quiet and generally do not generate complaints except for during warm weather when people sleep with their windows open.

Struck offered an alternative theory, however.

“One other thing it could have been was the Easter bunny.”

Aggressive human jailed in row over hot dog

hot dog


One woman got punched in the head, twice, another got grabbed by the throat and had claw marks down her chest. Another went to jail.

The dog, however, emerged uninjured.

As the weather warms up and people leave pets in the car while they run errands, and other people keep an eye out for those pets lest they perish in the car, an incident last week over a dog left in an SUV shows how volatile and aggressive humans can be when it comes to dogs.

A Poulsbo woman who routinely patrols parking lots looking for dogs in distress applauded the women who removed the dog last Tuesday, as well as the Bremerton Police officer who said the dog removers acted “in good faith” and were not cited. However, she thinks lawmakers need to write a law making sure good Samaritans are protected.

Here is what happened:

A 52-year-old Port Orchard woman took her friend’s teenage daughters to a show at the movie theater on Fourth Street in Bremerton. She left her dog inside her car. She cracked the windows and left it a bowl of water.

Meanwhile, employees of a nearby business believed the unseasonably warm weather and direct sunlight was putting the dog in distress (A National Weather Service meteorologist said the high for the day was 61 degrees). They called police for a check on the dog, but nobody arrived. They tried breaking the window, to no avail.

One of the employees – the one who got choked – has skinny arms and she was able to reach into the SUV and unlock the door, releasing the dog.

When the 52-year-old Port Orchard woman returned from watching a movie, all hell broke loose. At first she thought the dog had been stolen, so she called 911. While on the phone, the employees approached her with the dog.

The employee said the Port Orchard woman was calm at first, but then attacked her. The Port Orchard woman said she felt threatened. During the punching, the other employee tried to intervene, the report said, but that’s when the suspect grabbed her by the throat. The two teenage girls were shocked by what they saw and refused to go with the woman.

The Port Orchard woman’s husband came and said he would take the dog, the teenage girls and the SUV. The woman was arrested for two counts of fourth-degree assault. When she inquired about the removal of her dog, the officer said, “It appeared that it was a good faith effort for the safety of the dog,” according to the report.

Last summer I wrote about Sandra Crump, who almost instinctively roves parking lots on hot days looking for dogs left in cars.

She knows how quickly those confrontations can escalate. She has never been punched or grabbed by the throat, but one time an “elderly gentleman” started swinging his cane at her, using “filthy and vile language.”

“He limped through parking lot after me, his wife was aghast,” she said, who has a sense of humor about herself, and has called her fixation on looking for overheated dogs a “curse.”

It can also lead to violent encounters. You never know who you might be upsetting, or what kind of frame of mind they might be in when you confront them.

“I guess they are embarrassed,” she said of those she has confronted. “People don’t want to be told don’t beat your kid. ‘It’s my kid.’ People don’t want to have others interfere with their property. But (a dog) has rights.”

Crump believes state lawmakers should clarify that a residents will not be subject to prosecution, although local law enforcement officials have said if one acts in good faith to save a life — dog or human or otherwise — they are unlikely to get in trouble for breaking a window or entering somebody else’s car.

Aside from legal protections, Crump said a new law would raise awareness and might help eliminate the practice of leaving dogs in cars entirely.

She said she was relieved to hear about the people who freed the dog last week, saying it made her feel less lonely.

“I’m not the only nutcase out there,” she said.