Monthly Archives: August 2007

Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered?

Josh Farley writes:

Parade Magazine appears to have hit a nerve with an article posing this question: should the legal drinking age be lowered from 21 to 18?

The article, authored by Sean Flynn and published Aug. 12, begins like this:

If a woman is old enough to sign a contract, buy a house and get married, isn’t she also old enough to sip champagne at her wedding? If a man is mature enough to serve on a jury or risk his life in a war halfway around the world, isn’t he also mature enough to drink a beer?

What do you think?

Continue reading

Juvenile Arrests Hit Historic Lows

Josh Farley writes:

Arrests of teens and young people in Washington are hitting record lows, according to Gov. Christine Gregoire’s advisory committee on juvenile justice.

As high as 57,773 arrests in 1994, they’ve now fallen to 34,597 in 2006, the advisory committee said. And, as you can imagine, Washington’s population hasn’t exactly been shrinking, so those numbers certainly appear to be positive.

The question is, why have the numbers declined?

Continue reading

Ask a Cop: Taser Insights

Blogger’s Note: Columnist-slash-cop Steve Sutherland, a veteran officer with the Bainbridge Island Police Department, is here to talk about Tasers. Feel free to write more questions for him. For more past editions, click here.

Officer Sutherland writes: Several writers are aware that I am a Taser instructor and I know that there is some controversy about this less-lethal weapon. I hope I can answer some of your questions with this column.

To be certified as an instructor, I attended a 16-hour class. Two years ago I attended a 16-hour refresher class. I have been shot with the Taser once and had the probes attached to my clothing four other times. And yes, it is very painful, but once the five second cycle ends, you’re back to normal with no after effects.

Continue reading

Assaults of Differing Degrees

Josh Farley writes:

When does fourth-degree assault become a felony third-degree assault? The short answer is that it depends on the victim.

Sharon O’Hara got me curious about the Washington assault statutes after she posed an interesting question in a comment posted to a story. Follow the links to learn more about the individual incidents.

“4th degree assault for beating up someone at a Red Robin…..a felony charge for a person hitting the ferry captain … Why such a difference? Is a captain of a ferry boat more important than a Red Robin customer?”

The short answer, Sharon, is that in the legal system, there aren’t “more important” people, but there are ones performing services that affect all of us more than others. I spoke with Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Casad for the clarification.

Continue reading

More Black and Whites on the Way

Josh Farley writes:

The trend of law enforcement agencies going “black and white,” with its choice of patrol cars is continuing in Kitsap County, with the Bremerton Police Department’s roll out of five cruisers this week.

In a February story, we showcased a deputy (pictured) with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office who had recently picked up a black and white-colored Crown Victoria.

Now, Bremerton is bringing out a total of five black and whites. But the department will be converting its entire fleet to the basic, yet sleek color scheme over the next few years.

Continue reading

Identity Theives Going Postal

Josh Farley writes:

ID thieves are turning to their local post offices for their latest nefarious tricks, according to a story Saturday in the Seattle Times.

Their strategy combines some old, and some new, Times Reporter David Bowermaster reports. The old: they steal your credit card. The new: they use it at the post office, whose outer offices with stamp vending machines are often open 24-hours-a-day.

But how on Earth would you liquidate all those stamps?

Continue reading

Three Strikes Revisited

Josh Farley writes:

Shirley White of Port Townsend wrote us a letter to the editor that criticizes the state’s three strikes law.

She says a friend of hers had 3 second-degree robbery convictions that earned her a lifelong stay in prison. White says voters didn’t approve second-degree robbery as a “strike” offense, but that it was added later.

Here’s the letter in its entirety. Decide for yourself:

Continue reading

Dealers, Beware of Bell Bottoms

Andrew Binion writes:

To impress upon Seattle drug dealers that sailors in town for Seafair won’t be good customers, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service has joined to fray targeting street-level peddlers.

The NCIS presence on the corners and back alleys of Bell Town, Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market, working with Seattle police, garnered a passing mention in a Seattle P-I story that first ran Wednesday on the paper’s Website. The story, available here, is about a alleged crack dealer who keeps finding himself in the funny papers, for one reason or another.

Continue reading

A New Member on the Crime and Justice Team

Josh Farley writes:

The forum launched in December 2005, one of the Kitsap Sun’s first blogs. In that time, we’ve explored all kinds of topics along the criminal justice spectrum, and had some highly fruitful and insightful discussions.

But I have been looking for ways to give you more.

Andrew Binion, the Sun’s general assignment reporter for the Kitsap Sun since February, has a passion for covering the justice system. To that end, I’ve invited him to join in on the blog, and he’s accepted the call.

Here’s some more background on Andrew. Please welcome him to the blogosphere.

Continue reading