Monthly Archives: March 2009

On Society, Federal Judge Proclaims: ‘We are in a Death Spiral’

ronald-leighton

At the sentencing of a Ponzi scheme orchestrator Friday in federal court in Tacoma, federal court judge Ronald B. Leighton used some of the time to lambaste society in general.

We live in a time in which athletes cheat, he said, and where entertainers beat their wives and girlfriends. Government officials choose — or choose not — to pay their taxes, he proclaimed. And he took particular aim at our current cause celebre, calling some on Wall Street “souless.”

Leighton (pictured) ended such a diatribe by saying of our democracy that, “We are in a death spiral.”

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Jury Convicts Bremerton Woman of Manslaughter in Port Angeles Killing

Updating an earlier post, a Clallam County jury convicted a Bremerton woman Thursday of second-degree manslaughter.

Andrea Freese, a 34-year-old mentally disturbed woman, could have served the rest of her life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder, reports the Peninsula Daily News.

The 34-year-old stabbed William Boze, 73, in his Port Angeles home on July 28, 2007. The two had been arguing over changing the channel, the daily news reported. Freese’s attorney’s arguments appear to have steered the jury toward a lesser charge, due to her mental illness. She’ll likely face between 31 and 41 months in prison.

Freese’s mother, Charlene Logsdon, a bus driver in Silverdale, told reporter Paul Gottlieb that she thought the sentence was lenient.

“It’s sad to think, just three years for a man’s life,” she was quoted as saying. “We love our daughter, but she did a terrible thing,”

Port Orchard Man Gets 30 Years in Prison for Ponzi Scheme

Charles Nolon Bush, 69, was sentenced in federal court today to 30 years in prison for bilking investors out of $35 million. He also will have to bay $30 million in restitution.

Bush took the money, promising high-yield investments, but only invested a third of the money. He used the rest of it to fund a lavish lifestyle that included a home with a golfing green in Port Orchard. He also used the money to pay previous investors in a Ponzi scheme.

One victim from Gig Harbor Gig Harbor stated during sentencing in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, “everything you’ve ever done is a lie” and wished a 300-year term upon him.

After sentencing, Bush told the court, “I do plan on appealing … I am sickened over the pain I’ve caused people.” But he says he didn’t do anything “criminally.”

We’ll have more on the sentencing this evening.

– Angela Dice (filling in while Josh drives back from Tacoma to write the story)

Attorney General: If Cost was Main Issue, Death Penalty Would Already Be Gone

mckenna1If cost was the “determinative” issue, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna said the death penalty “would have been gone a long time ago.”

Several states are considering dropping the ultimate penalty, though not because of the moral debates that have raged on for so long. They’re doing it to save money.

I had a chance to briefly chat with McKenna (left) while interviewing him about a public records bill. I asked him what he felt about other states, including New Mexico, and their efforts to eliminate the penalty.

“It’s a fact that the death penalty is very expensive to carry out, and opponents have seen (the economic downturn) as a way to advance their agenda,” he said.

He still believes in the death penalty, nonetheless.

“I’ve said for a long time that the people of this state have right to impose the ultimate penalty for the most serious crimes,” he said.

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Appleton Explains Vote Against Public Records Restrictions for Inmates

appletonState Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo (left), was one of only two lawmakers to vote against a bill that would restrict prisoners’ public record requests. This fact was pointed out by commenter “Fedup” on this blog yesterday, and made me curious to find out why she stood up against nearly all of her fellow legislators.

First, a quick recap: Senate Bill 5130 aims to give judges the authority to block prisoners’ public records requests if they find they’re for the purposes of harassment. One other lawmaker in both houses voted against it aside from Appleton.

Here was her rationale.

“I voted against the bill because it means that (The Department of Corrections) could or (The Department of Social and Health Services) could turn down requests for documents of prisoners who have legitimate reasons for requesting records,” she wrote on email. “Many prisoners represent themselves, pro se, and this means it will be harder to obtain records.”

“This is a question of justice,” she added.

She believes that in cases of harassing public records requests, those who are victimized in them — be it a law enforcement officer, lawyer, or otherwise — are already protected.

” … The statutes already protect confidential information such as address, phone number and family members,” she wrote. “The problem is that the agencies are not enforcing the tools the have.  Hence my no vote.”

I interviewed State Attorney General Rob McKenna, and he disagreed with such an assessment. He said there’s a group of about 10 inmates who are abusing the power of the public records request. I’ll have more on that in an upcoming story.

First, here’s why McKenna’s office, which wrote the bill, advocated for it, taken from their web site:

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Gang Attacks at Wal-Mart the Stuff of Urban Legend

walmart

Our local 911 dispatchers have been getting a spate of calls talking of gangs attacking innocent victims at Wal-Mart. There is no truth to such rumors whatsoever, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

Indeed, such claims and allegations have been circulating the United States for nearly five years now, and have officially been disproved by Snopes.com. They have a rather rich history of leading people astray and sadly, to shop in fear.

“Their veracity has never been proven and the rumors are deemed not credible,” Sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson said in a press release.

Read the full release below.

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Bremerton Woman Could Face Life in Port Angeles Killing

Jurors have begun deliberations in a murder trial that could send a Bremerton woman to prison for the rest of her life, according to the Peninsula Daily News.

Andrea Freese, 34, was charged with stabbing to death 73-year-old William Boze at his west Port Angeles home July 27, 2007, PDN reporter Paul Gottlieb said. They’d apparent been arguing over changing a TV channel.

The trial is less about the facts of the case, and more about Freese’s mental state. Her attorney argued that Freese suffers from paranoid personality disorder, was “tormented by paranoia” and had been abused by the 73-year-old. Prosecutors, the story said, painted a different picture of Freese calling her a “deceptive woman who engages in ‘that crazy girl stuff.'”

How Community Efforts to Spay, Neuter Animals Makes Your Life Better

The mathematics of pet procreation are staggering. A fertile cat, for example, can produce up to three litters of kittens per year, at four to eight kittens per litter. A dog, not far behind, is capable of giving birth to two litters per year, at six to 10 puppies per litter.

“Just imagine, if the population was not controlled in some way,” says Dana Lerma, director of development of Kitsap Humane Society. “It’s frightening.”

And so given the very real notion our streets could become overrun with feral cats, as this Fox News story warns, we should all be grateful for the efforts of the yearly county “Spay Day,” which helped nip the sexual promiscuity of 574 cats and dogs in the area Feb. 24.

There are parts of the U.S. that don’t have programs that provide free or low cost spaying and neutering, Lerma said, recalling an experience recently in another state in which she watched a “mama dog,” badly malnourished — yet pregnant — with a litter of equally malnourished puppies following her. There are also parts of the world that don’t have amazing people like Linda Dennis, who goes out and catches feral cats so they can be fixed and then released back into the wild.

And then selfishly, there is our own conscience. Spaying and neutering means less roaming animals who might come out of nowhere, say, before your car as you drive. And there’s also that horrible feeling we get when we see a stray running about.

Such efforts by the community to spay and neuter animals means we have more cats and dogs the way we like them — as our fat and happy companions.

Olympia Votes to Limit Inmates’ Access to Records

By a nearly unanimous margin, our lawmakers in Olympia voted Wednesday to empower judges with the right to thwart inmates’ public records requests.

The House voted 94-2 in favor of the measure —  Senate Bill 5130 — sponsored by sponsored by Sen. Mike Carrell, a Republican from Lakewood (pictured). The senate had already passed it unanimously, according to a press release.

Here’s the rub on what will likely become new law, once Gov. Christine Gregoire puts ink on it. It would give a judge the authority to reject a public records request from a “person serving a criminal sentence,” if:

  • The court believes the request “was made to harass or intimidate the agency, its employees, or any person”;
  • The court finds releasing the records would, “likely threaten the security of correctional facilities, the safety and security of staff or other persons, or the deterrence of criminal activity.”

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Roundup: Illegal TV Loggers, a Local ‘America’s Most Wanted’ Arrest and More

Here’s a quick roundup of justice-related stories around the northwest that caught my eye.

Featured fugitive captured: An Oklahoma man that was recently featured on “America’s Most Wanted” — the long running show that keeps criminals on the run — has been caught in Grays Harbor County, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers stopped James Joseph Reimer, 41, about 3 p.m. Saturday for “routine traffic violations.” He was apparently driving a Mercury XR7 and had a 14-year-old in the front seat.

Oklahoma authorities had charged Reimer with luring the girl with sexually-explicit text messages. He’ll eventually be extradited back to the state to face the felony charges. No word yet on what brought him to the Evergreen State.

Local ‘Ax Men’ Under Investigation: On a recent episode of the History Channel’s “Ax Men,” loggers from Cle Elum-based company S&S Aqua Logging are seen pulling wood from the Hoquiam River. That’s a no-no according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources. The company should have pursued permits to do so, officials said. In the quote of the day, Larry Raedel, the DNR’s chief of law enforcement services, said: “We get our cases from TV now,” the Seattle Times reported.

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