Monthly Archives: March 2009

Sex Offender in Your Neighborhood? Find Out Where

These days, finding out where convicted sex offenders live is as simple as a  click of a mouse. And the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office just added one more tool in such a search.

“Offender Watch,” which you can check out for yourself at the sheriff’s office’s web site, keeps tabs on all registered sex and/or kidnapping offenders, and allows you to search through their compiled list. You can also search an address and get a map of all the offenders in a two mile radius.

Here’s perhaps the most useful part of the new program. You can get emailed anytime a new offender comes into that two mile area.

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Here’s One Kilo of Meth That Won’t Make it to Kitsap

Presumably, they worked up the chain, starting with the drug addict, finding the drug dealer and ultimately the drug distributor.

As the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team often does, they swam against the current of drug pushing, utilizing surveillance, intelligence and confidential informants to climb the ladder and find the bigger fish.

On Thursday, the undercover detectives’ network took them to Olympia, where they busted a 34-year-old allegedly trying to sell a half pound of meth in a parking lot. Following that, they served a search warrant at a home in the town, arresting two men in their mid-twenties and finding a kilo of meth worth about $84,000 on the street, they said. The task force also seized nearly $30,000 in U. S. currency, $2,600 in counterfeit bills, and two vehicles.

Charges against the suspects are pending, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said.

Washington’s Traffic Deaths Continue to Fall

Here’s a bit of news I think we can all agree is positive — traffic deaths fell for the third year in a row in Washington.

The governor’s office reports that 519 people still tragically died in traffic accidents in 2008. Yet that represents a nine percent decline from 2007, which saw 571 deaths.

On Kitsap’s roads, 20 people died in 2008, a number that seems strangely and sadly all too consistent.

Yet at the state level, the decline continues to be astonishing, especially when you consider there were more than 600 deaths on the highways around the state in 1961. Why is that impressive? There were 2.8 million people in the state then. The are 6.4 million now.

So, why the decline? Gov. Christine Gregoire is quick to commend her employees at the Washington State Patrol and Washington State Department of Transportation.

But what is the meat and potatoes behind the decline?

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Opiate Abuse: ‘Enablers’ in Anna Nicole Smith’s Death Face Charges

We’ve long been examining the dangers of prescription opiates for those who become addicted. Here’s another risk: those who “pump innocent and vulnerable people” with such drugs, in the words of California Attorney General Jerry Brown.

According to a story in the Miami Herald, California has filed a slate of criminal charges against Howard K. Stern, Anna Nicole Smith’s former boyfriend and lawyer, as well as Drs. Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich. The doctors are alleged to have given thousands of prescription opiate drugs to Stern, who in turn gave them to Smith.

Smith died of an overdose Feb. 8, 2007.

Prosecutors allege the trio “conspired to pump Smith full of a cocktail of drugs, knowing that she was an addict,” the Herald said. And Brown acknowledges that overmedicating patients is a heightening problem, one that should be prosecuted.

Reporter’s Notebook: Is Marijuana Case ‘Simple’ or ‘Very Complex?’

It’s been almost two years since Bruce Olson, a medical marijuana patient, was arrested and charged with growing pot in his Olalla home. He’s maintained his innocence ever since.

After months of pre-trial motions and a longer than normal jury selection process, the trial got underway today. It’s expected to last about a week and a half (March 25 or so).

Here’s a synopsis of the case’s opening arguments. We’ll have a story in the Kitsap Sun Saturday and on later today.

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Kitsap’s Litterers Caught by the Cops

Poulsbo Cop Nick Hoke watched from his patrol car last month as a motorist tossed a bag of six used whipped cream cans onto the side of the road. When Hoke stopped the man, and asked how often he littered, the man’s reply was quick and simple.

“Almost never,” the man said.

Those of you who follow this blog know we recently took a look at the secret lives of litterers in an informal investigation. We found out who some of these litterers are, why they do it, and one way we can stop them from trashing up this place called Kitsap.

Next up in the discussion: how has law enforcement dealt with litterers?

Port Orchard Detective Marvin McKinney says a pet peeve of his on patrol are those who litter the roads with cigarette butts. I think it’s probably something many of us have in common with him. McKinney had a rather creative way of dealing with a butt litterer one time.

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Another Execution Averted — For Now

Updating an earlier item, Cal Coburn Brown, 50, was due to be executed early this morning at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

But he wasn’t. Why? The Washington State Supreme Court issued a stay about nine hours before he was due to die by lethal injection.

His lawyers’ arguments were similar to those in two other death penalty cases in the state: that lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. How far such an argument goes remains to be seen. But it looks like we won’t know anything until May, when a Thurston County judge weighs in on the topic.

Man Gets 3 Years for Throwing Shoe (In Iraq. At the President.)

Here’s a criminal statute we can only hope the Iraqis needn’t use often: “Assaulting a Foreign Leader.”

On Thursday, a three-judge panel found Muntadhar al-Zeidi guilty of that very crime, following what may be the most notorious shoe attack the world has ever known. On Dec. 14, he hurled his size 10s at our former commander-in-chief, George W. Bush, and called him a “dog.” (Photo at left by AP.)

Bush’s reflexes, you may recall, were actually rather catlike, dodging with ease al-Zeidi’s shoe bullets. He also played off the incident brilliantly: “If you want the facts, it’s a size 10 shoe that he threw,” he joked.

Here’s my question: does three years in prison fit the crime?

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Death Penalty Appeals: How Long is Too Long?

The Christian Science Monitor today examines the issue of lengthy appeals in death penalty cases, and poses an intriguing question: how long is too long to wait?

Reporter Warren Richey looked into an appeal filed by lawyers of Florida death row inmate William Lee Thompson, who’s been a dead man walking for 32 years. The U.S. Supreme Court decided recently to turn down the case, which argued that more than three decades on death row constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

Washington, less than 24 hours away from its first execution since 2001, will put to death a man convicted in 1993. And Washington’s longest serving death row inmate, who killed a 12-year-old girl in East Bremerton, has been there since 1991, an 18 year stay.

The Monitor’s story contains fascinating comments from supreme court justices, and their thoughts on such delays. Among them:

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UPDATE: Jurors Tossed at Kitsap Marijuana Trial

Bruce Olson was arrested for growing marijuana at his Wiley Lane home in Olalla in May 2007.

It’s taken until this week to bring the case to trial in Kitsap County Superior Court, due to a lot of pre-trial motions from the lawyers involved. The trial, at first glance, may be lengthy as well.

According to the Cannabis Defense Coalition of Seattle, which has been diligently covering the beginnings of the trial, 49 potential jurors were dismissed Wednesday after Alexis Foster, deputy prosecutor handling the case, aired concerns to Judge Leila Mills of medical marijuana activists outside the courtroom.

Olson, along with his wife Pamela, held medical marijuana cards. But detectives with the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team in May 2007 raided their property and found 48 marijuana plants in an underground bunker. They said the number of plants exceeded the state’s 60-day supply rule allowed under the 1998 medical marijuana initiative.

Under a new Washington law, card-carrying medical marijuana patients can defend their use in open court if they have no more than 15 plants and up to 24 ounces of marijuana. if they believe their supply is within a “60-day supply.” A new Washington law establishes the presumptive amount at 15 marijuana plants and up to 24 ounces of marijuana.

But that law didn’t exist when the Olson cases were brought forth by the enforcement team — only a vague definition dubbed the “60 day supply.”

(Blogger’s note: I spoke with Alison Holcomb, drug policy director for the local office of the American Civil Liberties Union, who told me my original post was incorrect.)

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