Monthly Archives: January 2007

Death Penalty Bill: An Update on ‘Pendulum’

Though we’ve recently discussed capital punishment here at the forum — no jokes about how everyone in the “capitol” should be punished please — we need to revisit the topic.

Why? Because some of our legislators, including local Rep. Patricia Lantz, are calling for a bill that would put a stay on the death penalty until July 2008.

House bill 1518 would create a “death penalty task force,” that would look into the overall system.

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Meth Down

Methamphetamine, in all its illustrious names — crank, crystal, ice, speed, ect. — had fewer American users in 2005 than in 2002.

That was the result from data compiled and released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

According to the administration’s new federal study, there were 1.3 million meth users that were at least 12 years old in 2005.

That’s about .6 percent of the U.S. population, the study said. In 2002, about .8 percent of the population used the drug.

The study also said that western states, including Washington, are still plagued more than any other area in the country with methamphetamine use.

A recent story I wrote highlighted the decline of meth labs in Washington, while trafficking kept the flow of meth into our state steady. But the new numbers appear promising.

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To Be or Not To Be

“The main objective of this work is … to determine the potential cost savings, if any, from contracting with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office for Poulsbo’s public safety functions.”

So says the now-established plan for a “process study” by a private firm to determine the future of the Poulsbo Police Department.

Possible outcomes now appear to be A) growing the department B) making the department smaller C) keeping it the same or D) closing up shop and having the sheriff’s office take over.

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Four in 25 Days

Kitsap County has already seen four road fatalities this year, adding one today for the death of 20-year-old Jordon Michael Jimenez.

No single cause jumps out of the four accidents combined; but I am going to post the four circumstances below so you can see for yourself. A special thanks goes out to Marsha Masters, president of the local chapter of MADD, for the list.

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What’s a Year in Prison Cost?

Silverdale resident Les Allen is a man on a mission.

The 81-year-old once heard a superior court judge say that he had no idea what the cost per year for incarceration was in Washington state, despite that judge being in charge of sentencing recently convicted individuals for long stays in the state’s prisons.

Allen believes the judge should announce the cost of the prison stay during the sentencing.

His rationale: that if everyone knew the costs, “they might consider alternatives,” he told me. Interestingly enough, the legislature this year is considering a massive overhaul of the Department of Corrections.

Allen’s research on the top is impressive. At his Web Site,, you can find out the annual cost per inmate — usually around $32,000 — of any prison in the state. Check it out if you have a moment.

What’s your take on our prison costs?

Nigeria Ain’t Just a Country in Africa

In some ways, word of the “Nigerian Scam” — known technically as an “advanced fee fraud scam” — may seem like old news.

Unfortunately, people are still falling for like-minded schemes. A story in today’s (Monday) Kitsap Sun tells a few local stories of the scams, including ones that even targeted Bremerton detectives.

The detectives, of course, didn’t fall for it.

There are plenty of resources online that can help those who suspect they’re getting hit with “scam spam,” including and ScamSpeak.

The Federal Trade Commission offers useful words of wisdom on the topic as well.

Have you ever been a victim? Do you receive these kinds of scams? Feel free to share your stories below.

Do Our Cops Call Out All Traffic Stops?

There was a tragic story out of Tennessee last Saturday: it concerned a highway patrolman that had pulled over a car on a dark road late in the evening.

When Calvin Jenks, 24, leaned into the car to check for drugs, he was shot point-blank in the head, according to a story by

The article by also examines the policy for Tennessee troopers — one that states it is not mandatory for them to call in to dispatchers when making traffic stops.

Jenks apparently did not call in when he made his.

That got me thinking about our local policies.

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Death Penalty: Is Pendulum Swinging?

Could we be nearing the abolishment of America’s use of the death penalty?

That, of course, is a hotly debated question.

Capital punishment in the United States is certainly on the decline. A recent Associated Press story by Robert Tanner reported that the “number of death sentences handed out in the United States dropped in 2006 to the lowest level since capital punishment was reinstated 30 years ago, reflecting what some experts say is a growing fear that the criminal justice system will make a tragic and irreversible mistake.”

What is your take on the issue?

But before you do that, here’s some more background.

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UPDATE: The Outcry Continues

Any way you look at it, State of Washington vs. Kimberly Forder is a tragic case.

Forder, 44, a Seabeck resident, has been charged with homicide by abuse in the death of her 8-year-old adopted son, Christopher Forder, in 2002. She’s also been charged with manslaughter.

The details, penned by Kitsap County Sheriff’s detectives in the probable cause statement for Forder’s arrest, are gruesome and difficult to read. They were outlined in a story by one of my colleagues, Derek Sheppard, when Forder was arrested.

A date for trial — April 16, 2007 — has been nailed down, and an investigator has been hired by Forder’s defense attorneys.

And in late December and in early January, we’ve had several new developments.

A jail inmate came forward with information — apparently unsolicited — that Forder had told her if she posted bail — reduced to $500,000 Dec. 26 — she’d be “gone.”

On Jan. 2, one of Forder’s sons, Michael, pleaded guilty to raping a family member. Part of his plea agreement, prosecutors said, was that he’d testify against his mother at the April-slated trial.

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