Category Archives: Uncategorized

Power Grid Attacks Increasing

Power grid attacks reported in Washington, across nation |

Attacks on power substations are growing. Apparently, five states in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast reveal similar incidents of attacks. Vandalism and suspicious activity were on the rise.

Federal energy reports through August – the most recent available – show an increase in physical attacks at electrical facilities across the nation this year, continuing a trend seen since 2017. At least 108 human-related events were reported during the first eight months of 2022, compared with 99 in all of 2021 and 97 in 2020. More than a dozen cases of vandalism have been reported since September.

The attacks have prompted a flurry of calls to better protect the nation’s power grid, but experts have warned for more than three decades that stepped-up protection was needed.


  • At least 20 actual physical attacks were reported, compared with six in all of 2021.
  • Suspicious-activity reports jumped three years ago, nearly doubling in 2020 to 32 events. In the first eight months of this year, 34 suspicious incidents were reported.
  • Total human-related incidents – including vandalism, suspicious activity and cyber events – are on track to be the highest since the reports started showing such activity in 2011.


Since September, attacks or potential attacks have been reported on at least 18 additional substations and one power plant in Florida, Oregon, Washington and the Carolinas. Several involved firearms.

  • In Florida: Six “intrusion events” occurred at Duke Energy substations in September, resulting in at least one brief power outage, according to the News Nation television network, which cited a report the utility sent to the Energy Department. Duke Energy spokesperson Ana Gibbs confirmed a related arrest, but the company declined to comment further.
  • In Oregon and Washington state: Substations were attacked at least six times in November and December, with firearms used in some cases, local news outlets reported. On Christmas Day, four additional substations were vandalized in Washington State, cutting power to more than 14,000 customers.
  • In North Carolina: A substation in Maysville was vandalized on Nov. 11. On Dec. 3, shootings that authorities called a “targeted attack” damaged two power substations in Moore County, leaving tens of thousands without power amid freezing temperatures.
  • In South Carolina: Days later, gunfire was reported near a hydropower plant, but police said the shooting was a “random act.”

The Department of Homeland Security has previously warned that power infrastructure is an “attractive” target for domestic terrorists. Last year, three men pleaded guilty today to crimes related to a scheme to attack power grids in furtherance of white supremacist ideology.

“We have seen attacks such as these increase in Western Washington and throughout the country and must treat each incident seriously . . . The outages on Christmas left thousands in the dark and cold and put some who need power for medical devices at extreme risk.” ~U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.

My opinion? These actions bring criminal charges far more egrigious than your standard Malicious Mischief. If caught, defendants face federal crimes of Sabotage. Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a similar crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

2023 Legislation Aimed at Restricting Firearms

US Senators Reach Agreement to Tighten Gun Laws

Great article by Shauna Sowersby discusses how state lawmakers will again be considering legislation to place restrictions on guns in Washington. The Alliance for Gun Responsibility announced proposed legislation for the upcoming 2023 session:

“Amid record levels of gun violence in Washington and across the US, it is essential to protect and build on the progress we’ve made to keep our communities safe. Our 2023 Legislative Agenda reflects the urgent need for Washington to continue leading the way in adopting innovative policies to prevent gun violence.” ~Alliance for Gun Responsibility


Proposed legislation includes a measure that would put restrictions on semi-automatic assault weapons. The bill will target the supply of assault-style weapons by “prohibiting the manufacture, possession, distribution, importation, transfer, sale, offer for sale, and purchase of any assault weapon.”

Law enforcement and military officials would be exempt from the law. Washington state law defines a semi-automatic assault rifle as “any rifle which uses a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.”

The proposed legislation also says, “a semi-automatic assault rifle does not include antique firearms, any firearm that has been made permanently inoperable, or any firearm that is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action.”


The Alliance for Gun Responsibility is also seeking legislation to establish a pathway for victims of gun violence to hold manufacturers and dealers accountable. Also, they’re proposing legislation to require a permit for those who wish to purchase a gun in the state. Currently, gun manufacturers and gun dealers are protected by a 2005 federal law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. This gives them immunity from lawsuits brought by victims of gun violence. Permits also are not currently required in Washington, although buyers must submit to a background check and a waiting period before obtaining a gun.


A ban on high-capacity magazines went into effect in July. As a result, Washingtonians can no longer purchase or sell magazines with the ability to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Regulations on untraceable firearms, also known as ghost guns, went into effect this year as well, and in March 2023 possession of an untraceable firearm will be illegal in the state.

Legislation that banned the open carry of weapons at government facilities and where government meetings occur also passed the Legislature and went into effect in June of this year. Possession of weapons is now prohibited at school board meetings and election-related offices.


WA State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has already signaled that he will not tolerate violations of the bans passed by state Democratic leaders. On Wednesday, he filed a lawsuit and is seeking an injunction against a gun store in Federal Way for selling high-capacity magazines. Federal Way Discount Guns was caught during a sweep of 25 firearms retailers, according to a press release from the Attorney General’s office.

As with previous gun control proposals, Republicans are not happy about the announcement Wednesday from the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, said in a press release that it’s unfortunate that legislators must use time and resources to continue debating the gun control issue. He called the proposed assault weapon ban pointless and said he doesn’t believe it will have any impact on the safety of Washingtonians:

“The people of Washington are tired of political grandstanding and unproductive — or counterproductive — legislation. They have said repeatedly they want bipartisan solutions to problems like crime, homelessness, struggling schools, and the rising cost of living. Constitutionally dubious gun-control schemes don’t address any of those real-world problems.” ~Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a Firearm Offense or any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

“Focused Deterrence” – The New Approach to Reducing Crime

Focused Deterrence

In-depth WSJ news article from journalist Thomas Abt introduces “Focused Deterrence” as an approach to reducing crime.


Abt begins by saying that during the 2000’s and 2010’s, many Republicans and Democrats agreed on a range of sensible reforms. The bi-partisan solutions were implemented to fight crime while reducing the impact of mass incarceration. At this time, hundreds of state and local reforms were passed to limit excessive confinement and promote the rehabilitation and re-entry of incarcerated people. At the federal level, the First Step Act of 2018 shortened sentences, gave defendants additional chances to avoid mandatory minimum penalties, and improved prison conditions.

These changes were modest individually, but by 2019 they had helped reduce the U.S. incarceration rate to 810 inmates for every 100,000 adults, the lowest level since 1995. The disparity between Black and white imprisonment rates declined 40% from 1990 to 2020. At the same time, crime rates remained at or near historical lows.


The consensus behind such pragmatic policies came apart in 2020. When the Coronavirus Pandemic struck, George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, and firearm sales increased dramatically. Most important, violent gun crime surged in 2020, with murders rising 29% over the year before. This was the largest single-year percentage increase in decades. In 2021, homicides increased again, albeit by a more modest 4%, setting record highs in Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Portland, Ore., among other cities.

Many progressives, incensed by high-profile incidents of police violence, adopted “Defund the Police” as a rallying cry, even as it was rejected by mainstream Democratic leaders. Progressive prosecutors in some jurisdictions enacted policies that effectively decriminalized certain low-level, nonviolent offenses. Meanwhile, conservatives largely abandoned criminal-justice reform efforts and rallied behind President Trump’s law-and-order politics.


Abt posits that in order to achieve genuine solutions to the problem of rising crime, the U.S. needs to return to pragmatism informed by evidence. He also discussed three important lessons learned during his research and studies. The first is that most gun violence takes place in relatively small clusters of tightly networked individuals and groups. Second, gun violence responds to both positive and negative incentives. Finally, Abt argues that police violence has caused homicide rates to surge across the country.


In this approach, community residents, social workers and law-enforcement officers work together to identify the highest-risk individuals and groups. Next, they communicate the message that the shooting must stop. They follow up by offering life coaching, job training, educational opportunities and other forms of assistance. If these efforts fail, they use narrowly targeted investigations, arrests and prosecutions.

“Focused Deterrence works because it deals with those at the highest risk for violence,. It also offers them a balanced set of carrots and stick and communicates the choices they face in a direct but respectful manner.” ~WSJ Journalist Thomas Abt

For long-term declines in violence, cities need a collaborative effort that leverages several evidence-based strategies at once. In his article, Abt argues that funding alone isn’t enough to solve the problem.

“Reducing crime and violence also requires practical know-how that is hard to come by,” he says. “Local strategies to reduce community gun violence could be the first step toward tackling broader challenges like the ubiquity of guns and the durability of poverty in the U.S.” He says that for that to happen, we need our leaders to resist the usual talking points of our polarized political environment. “If they can embrace evidence over ideology, we have a chance to save many American lives.”

My opinion? Mr. Abt offers an excellent, well-written approach to this important issue. His solutions somewhat reflect the use and growth of Community Courts across the nation. A community court is an alternative problem-solving court. It differs from traditional court in that it seeks to identify and address the underlying challenges of court participants that may contribute to further criminal activity. Its goal is to build stronger and safer neighborhoods and reduce recidivism.

I’m a huge propopnent of Community Courts. And I’ve successfully gained dismissals for Clients who have successfully completed these programs.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a Firearm Offense or any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

Mental Health & High-Potency Cannabis

Dabs, Wax, Vaping Weed, Edibles and the Real Impact of High Potency THC Products: What Parents Need to Know

Journalist for the Seattle Times reports that research warns of the mental health risks of high-potency cannabis.

Such products are setting off alarm bells for physicians and a group of research scientists in the Pacific Northwest, who see the wide availability of dabs and other highly concentrated substances as a quiet but growing threat to public health, especially among young adults and teenagers. Lawmakers are considering new regulations, like a THC cap or higher tax on potent products

However, retailers and suppliers are pushing back. They point out that these products are already illegal for those under 21. And they warn that bans or increasing taxes on certain products could spur the growth of an illegal drug market.

Nevertheless, scientists point to emerging evidence from studies in adults that link high-potency THC to an increased risk of experiencing psychosis. Moreso, there’s a heightened risk of developing psychosis years earlier than would otherwise be expected in people at risk for the condition. Psychosis involves a loss of contact with reality, and symptoms can include delusions and hallucinations.

A large body of research links cannabis use in youths to psychotic symptoms. Anecdotally, pediatricians here report an increasing number of teenagers in emergency rooms with psychotic episodes. They’ve also experienced disorientation and severe vomiting, called cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. Whether such products should be further regulated — and how to do so — raises complex questions for policymakers.

So far, only Vermont and Connecticut included caps on high THC concentrations in their cannabis-legalization bills — both at 60% THC. California is considering legislation requiring cannabis producers to include a label warning of potential mental health consequences and other risks.

A majority of teens in the Northwest don’t use cannabis. But among those who do, they increasingly report use of dabs and other alternatives to smoking. According to Washington’s 2021 Healthy Youth Survey, about 33% of Washington 12th graders who use cannabis reported that they dabbed it. And in Oregon, the portion of youth who use cannabis and reported dabbing jumped from 26% to 36% from 2017-2019.

Pediatricians say they’re already witnessing what happens when youth with little or no THC tolerance try extremely potent products. Some wind up having a psychotic episode or experiencing temporary cognitive impairment, like trouble with simple motor tasks, finding words or remembering something they were just told. Others who’ve built up a tolerance to high-THC products seek help after severe bouts of vomiting, dehydration and stomach pain, symptoms of CHS.

“Are people really seeing this or are we just blowing smoke here? I’m totally seeing it. I see it at least three or four times a week,” ~Dr. Cora Breuner, Professor of Pediatrics at UW and a Physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The question of how to address concentrates comes down to whether state regulations would embolden a more dangerous black market. Policymakers are weighing several options, including raising age limits or marketing restrictions on high-potency products, charging higher taxes, adding THC caps and launching more robust public health awareness campaigns.

Industry and consumer experts vigorously campaigned against Davis’ THC cap proposals and continue to argue that new restrictions will lead to worse public health outcomes as unregulated products may contain pesticides or dangerous additives.

“(Our) top priority is a safe and quality-controlled marketplace that works to keep products away from kids,” Vicki Christophersen, executive director and lobbyist for Washington CannaBusiness Association, which represents producers and retailers across the state, wrote to The Seattle Times. “A return to prohibition policies is a threat to an open, transparent sector and inadvertently supports the illicit market, which operates in the dark.”

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with Drug Offenses or any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

Why Aren’t Collector License Plate Infractions Enforced?

Are drivers getting a sweet deal with Nevada's classic vehicle license plates? | KRNV

Why don’t police strictly enforce Collector License Plate infractions? Is this a no-priority enforcement situation? Doug Dahl of Target Zero gives answers in a recent news article.

Under Washington law, collector vehicle license plates cannot be used for regular transportation, commercial purpose or carrying a load. The law allows vehicles that are at least 30 years old and in good running condition to be licensed as collector vehicles. The upside of registering your car as a classic is that collector vehicle plates are valid for the life of the vehicle. You never have to pay for your tabs again.

The tradeoff is that a collector vehicle has limitations. The law states that they “may only be used for participation in club activities, exhibitions, tours, parades, and occasional pleasure driving.”

You might think lots of people would be tempted to register their cars as collectible, but time and wear makes this a somewhat self-enforcing law. Your old college car is most likely no longer on the road. The few cars that last that long usually do because they’re actually worth keeping.

I’ve asked a lot of cops why they got into the job, and so far none of them have said it was because they wanted to collect taxes. That doesn’t mean there’s no enforcement of registration laws, but it’s understandably less than some other violations. As far as I know, misuse of a collector plate has never been listed as contributing to a traffic collision.

“Given the limited policing resources, it makes sense to focus enforcement efforts on the highest-risk behaviors. No one likes getting a speeding ticket, but the most current research confirms that traffic enforcement that targets dangerous behaviors does save lives. There are laws we want enforced because it annoys us that someone is getting away with something, and there are laws we want enforced to intervene in high-risk driving behaviors. I know what I’d pick.” ~Doug Dahl, a Target Zero Manager Communications Lead,

Mr Dahl lists the top four factors in fatal crashes in our state along with the percentage of crashes they’re involved in:

Impairment (56%).

Speeding (31%).

No Seat Belt Use (23%).

Distracted Driving (20%).

Dahl adds that while enforcement decisions shouldn’t be made based on what’s easiest, in this case it works. Impairment, speed, distraction and seat belt use are all clearly observable behaviors. However, if an officer sees a collector plate at a grocery store or campground, who’s to say that isn’t occasional pleasure use?

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with DUI or any other vehicular crimes. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

America’s Shortage of Criminal Defense Attorneys

The State Of Public Defenders Workload: Can AI Fix The People Gap?

According to the Guardian, America’s public defenders are overworked and underfunded. The situation has reached crisis levels in some states.

The Downward Spiral of Public Defense Since Gideon v. Wainright.

In 1963, the landmark Gideon v Wainwright  U.S. supreme court ruling gave indigent criminal defendants who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, access to legal counsel.

Unfortunately, over the last 50 years, the legal system has failed to live up to Gideon. Criminal cases have piled up. The Guardian article stated how 53 years on, the rate of incarceration across the country has more than quadrupled compared to 1963 and the vast majority of defendants are indigent. The system is at crisis point. The cornerstone principles of the justice system have been eroded to the breaking point.

In recent years the US has begun to reckon with its role as the world’s biggest jailer. It manifests unequal justice system that disproportionately punishes poor people of color. In diagnosing the causes of this problem much of the focus has centered on sentencing reform. But in a country where 95% of criminal cases are settled by plea deal, little attention has been given to the critical state of indigent defense. Around the US, defenders routinely report an increase in overburdening and underfunding, caused by a variety of structural, political and economic drivers.

The Problem is Nationwide.

How bad is the picture around the country? Frustratingly, the scale of the problem remains unknown as dozens of states and jurisdictions produce no reliable data at all on the condition of their public defense systems.

As the Innocence Project reports, Public Defenders’ caseloads in some US states include about 80 to 100 cases per week. That’s about 400 cases per month or more than 4500 cases per year. That’s an impossible schedule to fulfill, no matter how dedicated legal workers are.

The last nationwide survey of public defender offices was carried out almost 10 years ago by the Department of Justice’s bureau of justice statistics (BJS). The findings were stark: 73% of county-operated defender systems, utilized in 27 states, were functioning above the maximum recommended caseload level.

In the 22 state centralized defender programs, 15 ran on caseload levels that exceeded the recommended case limit. In a world of meagre measurement and inadequate oversight, many argue the findings were a significant underestimate of the nationwide strain on the system.

The underfunding of public defenders threatens very grave consequences for the justice system in Texas and elsewhere. We hear about people who have been charged with minor crimes remaining in jail because they are poor. Harris County Jail in Texas has one of the worst records in this regard. Often public defenders are too busy to give these cases the time they merit.

My opinion? Obviously, cash-poor defendants are falling through the cracks. They are languishing in jails when they should have been released. Or their court-appointed attorney is not giving their cases the time and attention they deserve.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

Low-Level Robbery Won’t Get A Reduced Sentence

Why Grocery Stores are adding Supplemental Security during the Coronavirus Outbreak | CITIGUARD

In State v. Thomason, the WA Supreme Court held that the low-level, de minimis nature of some crimes can allow for an exceptional downward sentence. However, the minimal level of force used to prove Robbery makes it inappropriate to allow a downward sentence.


On September 5, 2018, Thomason entered Yoke’s Fresh Market grocery store in Spokane.  A plainclothes security guard, Mr. Swartz, followed Thomason around the store. Swartz watched Thomason pick up about $15 worth of meat and cheese. Thomason proceeded to another part of the store and tucked the food down his pants. Thomason then left the store without paying.

Swartz followed Thomason out and confronted him. Swartz grabbed Thomason’s arm, displayed his badge, and asked Thomason to go back inside the store. Thomason tried to pull free, and Swartz warned him that he was only making the situation worse. The two pulled at each other back and forth as Swartz tried to detain Thomason and Thomason tried to break free.

During this exchange, Thomason swung at Swartz two times. Thomason used a closed fist, aimed at Swartz’s face both times, and hit Swartz the second time with a glancing blow. Swartz yelled at his partner, a guard in training, to help. Thomason punched Swartz a third time. Swartz testified that the third punch “hurt” and caused a minor injury. His face was sore and slightly red for a day or two. Thomason escaped by pulling out of his sweatshirt and running. He was seen getting into a passenger car and was eventually apprehended.

The State charged Thomason with second degree robbery just before trial. A jury convicted him as charged.


At sentencing, the parties agreed that Thomason’s offender score was 10. That made his standard sentencing range 63-84 months. Thomason requested a 12-month sentence. This was a exceptional downward departure from his sentencing range.

The trial court judge considered an exceptional sentence below the standard range. The judge said that the crime was no more than a “glorified shoplifting charge” that should have been treated as a misdemeanor. Nevetheless, the judge determined that the law barred him from imposing an exceptional downward sentence. The judge imposed 63 months, the bottom of the standard range, instead.

Thomason appealed on several grounds. However, the Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction. The WA Supreme Court granted appellate review solely on the exceptional sentence issue.


The Court reasoned that Washington’s Sentencing Reform Act lists mitigating circumstances that can support an exceptional sentence below the standard range. It explained that in appropriate cases, the de minimis nature of a crime can support an exceptional sentence below the standard range. An appropriate case is one in which (1) the legislature did not consider the mitigating factor already when it listed the elements of the crime or set the standard sentence range and (2) the factor constitutes a substantial and compelling reason to depart below the range.”

The Court acknowledged Thomason’s argument that his crime was de minimis. The value of the items taken was low and no force was used to accomplish the taking. Although force was used to retain the property, it was “minor” force. However, the court disagreed with Thomasan’s argument that he was allowed an exceptional downward sentence.

The Court reasoned that the plain language of the robbery statute shows that the legislature did consider a defendant’s minimal use of force when it defined the crime of second degree robbery.

“As the emphasized language shows, the legislature clearly considered whether the crime of second degree robbery should punish a taking combined with a minimal showing of force. It criminalized a taking in which either ‘force’ ‘or’ no force at all—just ‘fear’—is used to accomplish the taking . . . The legislature even said that where, as here, such force or fear is used to obtain or retain possession of the property, or to prevent or overcome resistance to the taking, the degree of force is immaterial.”~WA Supreme Court

With that, the WA Supreme Court affirmed Mr. Thomason’s conviction.

My opinion? I agree with Chief Justice Steven Gonzalez’s concurring opinion. He wrote separately because he was increasingly troubled by our controlling, unchallenged precedents and the sentencing laws they interpret.

“Washington’s sentencing guidelines suggest, among other things, that unconstrained discretion in sentencing operates to favor whites and disfavor members of minority groups,” said Justice Gonzalez. As part of the concurrence, he references an article about prosecutorial discretion and sentencing guidelines. He ended his opinion with choice parting words:

“We must find a way to live justly with one another. We must not steal from each other or strike each other. But when it happens, the State must not respond with a disproportionate punishment. I am increasingly concerned that sentences like this for what amounts to glorified shoplifting are simply not just and speak to deep problems with our sentencing systems.” ~Chief Justice Steven C. Gonzalez, WA Supreme Court.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with Robbery or any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

Lawsuit: Washington State Patrol Misused Breathalyzer Tests, Misconstrued Readings

Datto Lawsuit: Ex-Employee Took Trade Secrets to ConnectWise

A recently filed lawsuit claims that the Washington State Patrol official responsible for ensuring the consistency and reliability of breath-test machines violated the rights of drunk driving suspects who later had their licenses revoked.

I discussed this in an earlier blog where a panel of District Court judges had already found breath machine results inadmissible in all Kitsap County cases. The four District Court judges tossed the breath machine results in all drunken-driving cases before the court. The judges also found that Fiona Couper, the WA State Patrol Forensics Lab, “submitted false or misleading testimony by declaration in tens of thousands of cases.” About 81,000 people were tested over the past decade.


The lawsuit was filed by David LaCross on behalf of plaintiff Nicholas Kori Solis, 29, of Bremerton. The respondent is Ms. Couper. The lawsuit claims that Ms. Couper filed false statements vouching for the legality of the machines and “deprived the plaintiff of due process.”

The lawsuit specifically criticizes Washington’s procedures for revoking drunk driving suspects’ licenses. This process is administrative, not criminal, and the breath test results are admitted to prove the driver was impaired to allow the state to revoke their driver’s license. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of money for damages, among other remedies.


Mr. Solis was arrested March 19 by a State Patrol trooper who observed him driving 88 mph on Highway 3. In addition to signs of impairment, the trooper tested Solis using the Dräger breath test machine. The machine found Solis had a blood alcohol content reading of about .10. Solis was charged with DUI in Kitsap County District Court. He pleaded not guilty and entered a diversion agreement with prosecutors.


The legal issue is whether Washington’s BAC machine accurately processed the results of breath tests. The state limit for blood alcohol content is .08. As the machines perform the required calculations, however, they produce results that contain more than two digits.

State law says the numbers are to be “rounded” but instead the software had been “truncating” them, or cutting off the numbers at a certain decimal point, a fact the judges found Couper knew or should have known.

The practical results of truncation vs. rounding can actually benefit defendants – as rounding a number could result in it increasing and showing a person was perhaps more intoxicated, something that cannot happen when the numbers are simply cut off.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with DUI or any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

Washington Police Say Drivers Aren’t Stopping For Them

See ya! Washington police say drivers aren't stopping for them; cite  pursuit restrictions - OPB

Journalist Austin Jenkins reports that drivers are increasingly refusing to stop for Washington State Patrol troopers. troopers – and other law enforcement agencies also say this is becoming a common occurrence.

The Northwest News Network reports that from January 1 to May 17 of this year, the agency logged 934 failure-to-yield incidents. While the patrol didn’t track this in the past, veteran troopers say there’s been a dramatic uptick in drivers fleeing traffic stops.

“Something’s changed. People are not stopping right now. It’s happening three to five times a shift on some nights and then a couple times a week on day shift.” ~WA State Patrol Sgt. Darren Wright.

Many blame recent police reform laws passed in response to the murder by police of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other high-profile police killings — reforms aimed at addressing racial disproportionality in policing. Minority Republicans in the Legislature criticized many of the changes, including the pursuit law House Bill 1054, and said they jeopardized public safety.

Under House Bill 1054, police officers can’t give chase unless there’s reasonable suspicion to believe the driver is impaired or the higher standard of probable cause to believe they’re an escaped felon or have committed a violent crime or a sex crime.

Even then there are restrictions on when officers can pursue. Officers must balance whether the person poses an “imminent threat” and whether the safety risks of the person getting away outweigh the danger of engaging in a high-speed chase.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with Reckless Driving, Eluding or any other crimes. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.

Drug Overdose Deaths Hit Highest Level On Record

U.S. drug overdose deaths hit record 107,000 last year

According to provisional data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses in the United States were deadlier than ever in 2021.

Nearly 108,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2021, and about two-thirds of those deaths involved fentanyl or another synthetic opioid. Overdose deaths have been on the rise for years in the US, but surged amid the Covid-19 Pandemic. Annual deaths were nearly 50% higher in 2021 than in 2019, CDC data shows.

The spike in overdose deaths in the second year of the pandemic wasn’t as quite as dramatic as in the first year: Overdose deaths were up about 15% between 2020 and 2021, compared with a 30% jump between 2019 and 2020. But the change is still stark. In 2021, about 14,000 more people died of overdose deaths in than in 2020, the CDC data shows.

“This is indeed a continuation of an awful trend. Rates of overdose deaths have been on an upward climb for decades now, increasing at unprecedented rates right before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S.” ~Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The pandemic accelerated trends that were already heading in the wrong direction, and experts say that reversing course will require concentrated efforts — and it will take time, both strategically and ideologically.

Treatment for drug abuse was lacking even before the pandemic. In 2019, more than 20 million people ages 12 and older reported having a substance abuse disorder, only 10% of whom reported receiving care, according to a report from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

And a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation cites evidence that access and utilization of these services has gotten even worse during the pandemic.

The illicit drug supply in the US has also seen a “massive shift” over the past two decades. Increasing use of synthetic drugs caught the attention of experts before Covid-19 hit, but the pandemic may have exacerbated the problem. With international travel limited, synthetics that are easier to manufacture and more concentrated were likely more efficient to smuggle across borders, Volkow said.

Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, psychostimulants such as methamphetamine, and cocaine all increased between 2020 and 2021, according to the new CDC data. Deaths involving natural or semi-synthetic drugs, such as prescription drugs, fell slightly from the year prior.

My opinion? This is a devastating milestone in the history of the overdose epidemic in America. When we report numbers, we must remember that each number represents an individual, their families, and their communities. Compounding the issue is the fact that the WA Supreme Court struck down Washington felony drug possession law. In the wake of the Blake decision on February 25, people can no longer be arrested for simple drug possession in Washington state.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a Drug Offense or any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.