Monthly Archives: April 2006

Handful of DUIs = Felony

The State Legislature this year passed House Bill 3317, a new law that makes the fourth Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge on a resident’s record in a 10-year span a felony offense.

The bill, which passed both the house and senate unanimously, was signed into law by Gov. Christine Gregoire on March 15, 2006. It will take effect in July 2007.

But how many people will actually get nailed for 4 DUIs? Too many, says the Washington State Patrol, and a Code 911 item from Tuesday (seen below) illustrates the point.

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Morning News: It’s Police over Principal in Schools

Let’s say a fist fight breaks out at a local school and two boys are eventually seperated. Is it a trip to the principal’s office for possible a possible suspension?

These days, it’s not a fist fight, it’s an assault — and in many cases, it will involve a trip to to “juvie hall” — AKA jail for juveniles — in the back of a patrol car.

Whereas school officials once handled most disciplinary issues (remember the days a trip to the vice principal’s office was a scary thing?), these days, fears of gun-weilding teens and alleged lawsuit-happy parents have made them a matter for police, not principals.

It’s gone too far, according to some families interviewed by the Texas-based Dallas Morning News, in a Friday story.

“Much of the responsibility for discipline has shifted from the principal’s office to the patrol car,” writes Karen Ayres of the Morning News. “Recent events in local schools reflect the trend.”

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Bank Robberies Unsolved

Whereas prior holdups had been solved and the offender brought to justice, Thursday’s bank robbery at Key Bank on Wheaton Way — the third in six months in East Bremerton — also marked the third in a row where the suspect got away from Bremerton Police.

In the latest robbery, a man walked up to the counter and pulled what was described as a “shiny” handgun and “cocked it to one side,” before telling a bank teller, “Give me all your money,” police reports said.

As I wrote in the story, “The teller obliged, but also gave the man fake money and a “dye-pack” made to explode pink dye and mark any of the stolen bills to help police find the culprit.”

(To read more on dye-packs, which are quite fascinating, go see the How Stuff Works Web Site.)

In this latest robbery, the suspect was a black male, about 6 feet tall, 25 to 30 years old, with no facial hair and “bushy” eyebrows. Anyone with information should call Bremerton Detective Robbie Davis at (360) 473-5361.

And where were the two previous robberies?

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Car Theft: A Changing Crime

Some of you may have caught this Kitsap Sun Code 911 story on the Web Wednesday:

A would-be thief who allegedly tried to make off with a car Tuesday got less than an hour with his stolen ride, according to the Bremerton Police Department.

Officers heard reports that the vehicle, a 2003 Acura RSX, was stolen from Erlands Point Road at around 3 a.m. One officer saw a similar vehicle drive by soon after, near the intersection of 13th Street and Kitsap Way.

The officer followed the car as it accelerated to speeds he guessed were about 50 mph in a 25 mph zone. The car also failed stop at two stop signs, reports said. At around 3:30 a.m., the officer saw a man matching the alleged car thief’s description crossing Naval Avenue at Fifth Street, and also noticed he wasn’t wearing a coat — in 35 degree weather — and appeared nervous. The officer asked him if he’d seen an Acura-like car drive by, and the man quipped, “Why, was it stolen?” according to reports.

The car was located soon after by another officer at the 300 block of Naval Avenue and the man, a 24-year-old Bremerton resident, was taken to jail by Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies.

This Code story is a successful — and quick — ending to a car theft. However, many more aren’t so lucky.

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Law Day Less Than 3 Weeks Away

The Kitsap County Bar Association’s Annual Law Day Celebration, held May 5 at the Kitsap County Courthouse, is just a few weeks away. Anyone is invited to attend the event, which begins at 8:30 a.m.

Law Day was established by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958 “to draw attention to both the principles and practice of law and justice,” according to the U.S. Library of Congress.

A ceremony, as well as a special appearance and hearing of cases by one of the state’s court of appeals, will be among the highlights.

It also gives students a chance to showcase their skills and knowledge in interpreting the law through its annual essay contest. Winners receive cash prizes and are awarded before Kitsap’s top judicial officers at the May 5 event.

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Newsweek: “Re-entry” not “Rehab” on the Rise

On average, the U.S. locks up 2.3 million people in prisons and jail nationwide, and each year, about 656,000 are released from incarcertation, according to Newsweek.

Almost two-thirds of those released go back to prison. So what’s being done to bring down the rate of re-offenses?

That’s the topic of “The Dawn of a New Movement,” a recent Newsweek article by Ellis Cose. The story’s definitely worth a read.

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The Jail: Costs, Benefits

An article in today’s Kitsap Sun discusses the Kitsap County jail’s “intake standards,” or the guidelines the approximately 102-person staff uses to determine whether or not to hold an offender on bail prior to their first court date.

Currently, all felony charges, as well as domestic violence and driving under the influence (DUI) misdemeanors are “held” before court by the jail. But a dip in the jail’s 406 bed capacity has allowed adding any misdemeanor crimes against people — mainly what are known as “simple” assaults — are now being held as well.

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Identity Theft Thwarted? Not Quite

There were 3.6 million victims of identity theft in 2004, meaning that roughly 3 percent of the entire U.S. populations were victims of the fast-growing crime, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Thus, many residents have become far more alert when it comes to their incoming and outgoing mail, which is one of the ways identity thieves get hold of personal information that can be used to access bank accounts and use credit cards.

So when a 47-year-old Indianola woman was sorting through trashed and recycled mail at the Kingston Post Office Friday, it raised eyebrows — and generated a call to 911.

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