Earlier this week, two Washington state legislators took action to increase the criminal penalties for people who have been convicted of a drunk driving fatality. If the proposed legislation passes, people who are convicted of vehicular homicide based on drunk driving or a series of similar offenses would receive more than six years in jail, even if the accident was their first offense.
Although the following case did not take place in King County, it provides an interesting look at the constitutional protections against illegal search and seizure, and how a violation of those rights may overturn a DUI conviction in Washington or in any state.
Usually, when a teenager or young adult is arrested and charged with a crime, there is more to the situation than meets the eye. The defendant may be suffering from a mental health disorder or behavioral issue or dealing with poverty, addiction or abuse. These very real possibilities are why many experts are concerned about a new study which has found that up to 41 percent of Americans have been arrested by the age of 23. The study does not state whether the young adults were arrested for violent crimes or less serious offenses.
After a nearly year-long investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice recently released a report stating that the Seattle Police Department has engaged in a "pattern or practice" of using excessive force against citizens, and thereby violating their constitutional rights. The report, which also expressed "serious concerns" about police treatment of minorities, accused top city and department officials of failing to remedy the problems discovered by the Justice Department.
A King County man will serve an "exceptional sentence" of eight years in jail after pleading guilty to multiple theft crimes throughout the county. He may also be sentenced to more years in jail upon the completion of court proceedings for several additional burglary and theft charges in Whatcom County.
A Seattle woman is suing an anger management class contractor, its owner, and an instructor, alleging that the company and instructor failed to take sufficient protections to protect the safety of the class participants. According to the lawsuit, the instructor merely watched and took no action while another member of the class allegedly stabbed her multiple times with a knife.
The father of a missing Seattle boy will soon regain custody of his other child pending the modification or withdrawal of a domestic violence protection order, which court officials say will likely happen within the week. The 4-year-old girl has been in foster care since her 2-year-old brother went missing in early November, and the unfounded domestic violence order is now the only thing standing in the way of the girl being placed in her father's care.
Last spring, a woman was arrested and charged with drunk driving after allegedly yanking the steering wheel and causing the car to collide with a median on the freeway. She admitted to the officer that she was intoxicated, and a later chemical test showed her to have a blood alcohol limit above the legal limit. The only thing that makes this story different than any other DUI arrest is this: the woman was not actually driving the car at the time.