Tag Archives: Mt. Vernon Criminal Defense Attorney

Public Discussion of New Jail in Whatcom County

Creepy Photos of an Abandoned Prison | The Weather Channel

Great article by journalist Robert Mittendorf discusses the possible cost, location, design and scope of a new jail facility.

Whatcom County’s current jail, which is 40 years old, is considered too small for current needs and requires millions of dollars in safety renovations. It’s under booking restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was built to hold 148 offenders and was remodeled to a capacity of 212. The Work Center in Irongate has 150 beds for full-custody, lower-security offenders and those on a work crew or work-release programs.

Mittendorf reports that It’s the first public discussion of cost after more than a year of meetings to develop plans for a new jail. This comes along with services that could include diversion programs and mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities.

THE MONEY

A .2% sales tax could collect $13.8 million annually, with $8.3 million to Whatcom County and $5.5 million split among Bellingham and its other cities based on population. A 30-year bond issue with annual payments of $8.3 million could raise $143 million.

THREE POSSIBLE LOCATIONS

Choosing a jail location is the next step in the process. Three locations in the county have emerged, with cost estimates based on a jail size of 400 to 440 beds:

▪ The parking lot south of the Whatcom County Courthouse, location of the current jail in downtown Bellingham. It would be at least seven stories tall on 1.3 acres, with three stories of underground parking and cost $207 million. Opportunities for expansion and nearby location of other services would be limited.

▪ A location on Deemer Road in the Irongate industrial area, near the Jail Work Center and the Anne Deacon Crisis Triage Center. It would be four to five stories tall with underground parking and cost $170 million. Its five buildable acres allow for some possibility of adding additional services nearby. Driving time would be about nine to 12 minutes from the downtown courthouse.

▪ A site on LaBounty Drive in Ferndale, where plans for a jail were scrapped after ballot measures to fund it with a .2% sales tax failed in 2015 and 2017. Cost is estimated at $137 million. Its layout on 16 acres of buildable land would be horizontal and no more than two stories tall. It has the greatest potential for adding nearby services. Because it is near Interstate 5, driving time would be about nine to 15 minutes from the downtown courthouse.

In addition to a new jail, more behavioral health facilities and staff are needed, and also more housing for people who are released from jail, according to reports from the Whatcom County Justice Project over the past year. It has also focused on ways to reduce time in jail, such as electronic home monitoring and programs that treat substance abuse.

The VERA Institute reports the following general information about most jails located across the nation:

  • Close to 70 percent of all people held in local jails have been charged with violations of drug, property, or public order laws; less than one-third have been charged with offenses that are considered violent.
  • Unlike in prisons—where incarcerated people have been convicted of a crime—two-thirds of the people in local jails have not been found guilty of their current charges but remain incarcerated pretrial, often because they’re unable to pay even small bail amounts.
  • Many incarcerated people also experience added challenges like homelessness or behavioral health issues. Forty-four percent of people in jail report having at least one mental health condition.
  • And the rate of people with substance use disorders is six times as high in jail as in the community.
  • People in jails have also experienced homelessness at a rate from 7.5 to 11.3 times that of the broader population.
  • These facts are not accidental. They’re the result of policy decisions to use enforcement and incarceration instead of treatment and services.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: jail is a terrible place. Please review Making Bail and 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.

Lock Your Pet In Your Car?

Summer approaches! And with it, the hurry-up-and-have-fun approach to life. We have barbeques. Go to beaches. Play in the sun. In between fun time, we run errands. And when we run errands, we leave our pets in the car.

Unfortunately, without ventilation, the temperature inside your car will rise high and fast. Leaving pets in a hot car can cause heat stroke or death. Cracking a window open isn’t enough.

CIVIL INFRACTIONS & CRIMINAL CHARGES.

Washington state law makes it a civil infraction to leave any animal alone in a car. The law also applies to any other enclosed space, if they could be killed by excessive heat, excessive cold, lack of ventilation or lack of water. This civil infraction comes with a maximum fine of $125.

It is also possible to get slapped with an animal cruelty charge, depending on the severity of the situation, and other circumstances. In Washington, you can be convicted of animal cruelty if you don’t provide needed shelter, sanitation, space, or vet treatment. The law applies if you acted recklessly, purposefully, or with criminal negligence, and only if the animal suffers unjustified pain as a result.

HOW HOT CAN A CAR GET?

According to a 2005 study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, outside temperatures of around 70 degrees can heat the inside of a car to over 115 degrees within minutes.

Dogs experience heat exhaustion when their body temperature hits 103 degrees, according to pet food company Hill’s Pet Nutrition. It’s typically safe to leave your dog in the car for no more than five minutes when the outside temperature is above freezing and below 70 degrees.

RESCUING PETS FROM HOT OR COLD CARS.

If you see a dog or pet in obvious distress inside a car, what can you do to help? Wherever you live, you should try to contact local animal control authorities or law enforcement. Authorities may be able to track down and contact the car owner. Many states also allow officers or emergency responders to use force, if needed, to save endangered animals.

CAN YOU BREAK A CAR WINDOW?

Some states have Good Samaritan laws that protect a rescuer from criminal or civil liability for breaking into a locked car to rescue an animal. But in order to be protected, rescuers must take certain steps—including calling 911 or law enforcement first. And usually, their actions—such as breaking a window—must be absolutely necessary or used only as a last resort. In states that don’t have Good Samaritan laws, the rescuer could face legal repercussions for their actions.

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

Bellingham Retail Stores Beef Up Security in Response to Rising Crime

Gold fever sweeps the criminal underworld

Excellent article in the Cascadia Weekly by Ralph Schwartz describes how Bellingham retail stores are increasing security in response to rising crime.

Thefts in Bellingham’s downtown core peaked in March 2022, according to the city’s crime statistics webpage. Apparently, this is part of a broader citywide crime wave that hit Bellingham in the latter stages of the COVID-19 pandemic for a variety of reasons.

Among them was overcrowding at the jail, which prompted the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office to stop booking nonviolent offenders.  The police department was short on officers. Finally, new state laws made it more difficult for police to engage with suspected criminals.

Bellingham’s Meridian neighborhood also reported thefts peaked in the summer of 2022. This neighborhood includes Bellis Fair mall and major retails such as Home Depot and Walmart. The neighborhood averaged four reported thefts a day in June through August of last year.

The shoplifting problem isn’t limited to Bellingham. Nationally, retail theft was growing before the pandemic, reaching $68.9 billion in stolen goods in 2019, according to the Retail Industry Leaders Association. A more recent survey by the National Retail Federation reported that overall shrinkage, which includes theft, damaged goods and other losses, reached $94.5 billion in 2021, up 4% compared to 2020, with much of that attributed to a rise in organized crime.

According to the article, large-scale retailers like Home Depot have armed their security guards. This comes in response to Organized Retail Theft operations originating from a nearby Homeless encampment.

“Organized retail crime is an ongoing issue, and it has been on the rise over the last several years for many retailers . . . We have a multitude of initiatives in place to mitigate, including human and technology resources, to make theft in our stores more difficult; close partnerships with law enforcement; and significant efforts working with federal and state task forces to fight this problem.” ~Evelyn Fornes, Senior manager of communications and advocacy for The Home Depot

Washington also has the second highest per capita rate of retail theft of any state in the country after Pennsylvania. In 2021, 23,323 cases of shoplifting were reported in Washington state. Seattle also ranked eighth among large cities for retail crime in 2021.

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

Why Retail Is Focused on Organized Crime

Retail theft ring: $2M in merchandise recovered, 3 arrested, Wilmette police say - ABC7 Chicago

Great article by journalist Eric Rosenbaum discusses why large retail stores see an increase in Organized Retail Theft.

BIG BOX RETAILERS BELIEVE THEY ARE VICTIMS OF CRIME

“The country has a retail theft problem,” Home Depot CFO Richard McPhail said on a call with CNBC on Tuesday after its earnings. “We’re confident in our ability to mitigate and blunt that pressure, but that pressure certainly exists out there.” Home Depot’s vice president of asset protection had told CNBC in March crime is increasing at double-digit rates.

According to the article, Target said organized retail crime will reach $500 million more in stolen and lost merchandise this year compared with a year ago. On its earnings call, Target CEO Brian Cornell said retail theft is “a worsening trend that emerged last year.” Retailers are convinced the crime trend is rising. Complicting matters, the trend is not simply a shoplifting issue reflecting tougher economic times for Americans. The trends show an increasin in the work of organized retail crime networks.

ORGANIZED RETAIL CRIME

The National Retail Federation says Organized Retail Crime is the main reason for retail “shrink.” This is defined as a mismatch between actual inventory and what is on the books — which reached $94.5 billion in 2021, an increase of almost $4 billion year over year.

Its president Matt Shay told CNBC on Thursday that the issue isn’t going away. “Conversations we’ve had with members over the last several years indicate it is getting to be a really acute and serious problem,” and as far as the annual numbers, remains “growing.” While theft is “manifesting itself in stores with acts of violence,” Shay stressed that in-store, individual crime is not the biggest scope of the problem. It’s not people shoplifting an individual item for personal use.

These days, shoplifting is a big part of organized crime. Target chief financial officer Michael Fiddelke had said after its earnings in November 2022 that shoplifting jumped about 50% year over and year, resulting in over $400 million in losses in the fiscal year, and Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon issued another warning about the rising threat on CNBC in December.

“This is very sophisticated local, state, national and transnational organizations, organized not just to steal at the store level, but throughout the entire supply chain … on the docks, on trucks, off ships, through containers, on the railways. This is a really persistent problem and it’s across the supply chain,” ~Matt Shay, President of National Retail Federation.

MOVING UP THE SUPPLY CHAIN: CARGO THEFT

That matches CargoNet data recently provided to CNBC by insurance company Travelers, which has a special investigations group and works with law enforcement to recover stolen goods. It found food and beverage coming into port or in a warehouse is No. 1 on the list of products being targeted by freight thieves who are increasing their criminal activity across the national supply chain, with household goods and electronics still high on the list of cargo thieves.

Physical theft is still the No. 1 method used by thieves in the supply chain, but they are getting more sophisticated, creating fictitious pickups through use of identity theft — pretending to be trucking companies, including infiltrating online freight management systems and freight brokerage phone lines.

“A lot of times, they will get away with it,” Scott Cornell, transportation lead and crime and theft specialist at insurance provider Travelers, recently told CNBC. It has tracked a 600% increase in this form of cargo crime.

Cargo theft is occurring at multiple points in an item’s journey, with the NRF finding that theft “en route from distribution centers to stores” was the top target, at 47.4%; followed by cargo theft at stores, at 42.1%, and cargo “en route from manufacturers to distribution centers,” at 35.1%.

COMBATTING ORGANIZED RETAIL CRIME ACT

The National Retail Federation is lobbying for the Combatting Organized Retail Crime Act, which would create a function within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to elevate the theft issue to a national issue. It would also allow the DHS to coordinate with law enforcement across the country, provide resources, and report to Congress.

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

Skagit County’s Drug Task Force May Lose Funding

Task forces seize over $29 million in narcotics in Ohio this year | WRGT

Great article in GoSkagit by journalist Brandon Stone reports that the WA Commerce Department may stop funding Skagit County’s drug enforcement squad. This puts the future of this unit at risk.

THE SKAGIT COUNTY DRUG TASK FORCE

The Skagit County Drug Task Force is a “vice” unit composed of police officers from all of Skagit County’s law enforcement agencies. The Task Force is responsible for gathering intelligence on illegal drug activity in and through Skagit County. They conduct investigations, make arrests and conduct seizures based on that intelligence. They also shut down drug houses, intercept deliveries, and assist in the prosecution of high-profile drug dealers.

Each member of the Drug Task Force has years of experience in law enforcement. The Task Force has assembled a wide range of informants providing them with a constant flow of information.

FUNDING PROBLEMS

Tobin Meyer, the commander of the Task Force, recently addressed the Mount Vernon City Council. He discussed the funding issues and asked if the City would offer support if State funding stopped. He said of the unit’s $450,000 annual budget, $150,000 traditionally comes from this grant. Funding would usually come in September, but he can’t count on it this year.

“It’s a David and Goliath battle, but we’re doing our best.” ~Tobin Meyer, chief criminal deputy with the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office

INCREASE OF FENTANYL & “TRANQ”

Meyer discussed recent trends in drug trafficking. hE painted a dire picture of the prevalence of fentanyl in the county.

As recently as 2019, this highly concentrated opioid was rare. But by 2022, law enforcement took more than 300,000 pills off the street, Meyer said. A counterfeit Percocet pill containing fentanyl might have cost $20 to $30 wholesale in 2020, but today’s price is closer to a dollar.

A new drug called Xylazine, also called Tranq, was found in Skagit County after first being documented elsewhere in the country. Unlike opioids, there is no known overdose antidote to xylazine.

DRUG TRENDS IN WA STATE

Washington ranks third worst in the nation for illicit drug use disorder, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, released in December 2021. WA State ranks next to last in delivering drug treatment to adults and teens who say they need it. More than 2,000 people died of drug overdoses last year in Washington, a 66% jump since 2019.

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.

WA State Patrol Uses Helicopters to Pursue Fleeing Suspects

Helicopter closely chases a race car in this insane stunt - Vidéo Dailymotion

Nowadays, the WA State Patrol shall deploy “aviation tactics” to respond to increased incidents of street racing.

“WSP along with other law enforcement agencies has experienced an increase in the number of vehicles fleeing attempted traffic stops yet it is imperative this criminal behavior is addressed in the safest manner possible to hold these individuals accountable.  The WSP is addressing this issue with the invaluable assistance of the Aviation Section.” ~Press Release, WA State Patrol

Apparently, four recent incidents occurred where arrests were made using a helicopter.  The pilot guided ground units to suspect vehicles.

Incident #1 – WSP aircraft observed a vehicle traveling SB SR 167 in Auburn at 97mph and passing on the shoulder.  They followed the vehicle as it exited the freeway and at one point in time seemed to be racing other vehicles.  The vehicle ended up in a drive thru and when it exited troopers were able to arrest the driver.  Numerous charges to include suspicion of DUI!

Incident #2 – This incident is where a vehicle was doing doughnuts in front of a trooper in Kent.  The vehicle fled an attempted traffic stop and was followed by the aircraft.  After the aircraft followed the vehicle all over the South Center area the ground units were led to where the vehicle parked near a warehouse and the driver was taken into custody.

Incident #3 – The aircraft spotted a vehicle NB 167 traveling at 107mph heading to what was believed to be a racer meetup. The vehicle fled an attempted traffic stop by a trooper and was followed by the aircraft where speeds reached 118mph. The vehicle was followed all over the South Center area until it reached a meetup where a number of vehicles were blocking the road.  The vehicle was trapped by the other vehicles and troopers were able to make an arrest!

Incident #4 – A trooper followed several street racers and attempted to stop one for speeding.  The vehicle fled into east Auburn into a residential area and entered a home.  Troopers arrived at the residence and were able to talk the driver and passenger out of the house.  The trooper in the aircraft was able to ID the driver by the hoodie they were wearing and a lanyard hanging out of their pocket.  The driver was subsequently arrested.

STREET RACING IS RECKLESS DRIVING.

Street racing is typically an unsanctioned and illegal form of auto racing that occurs on a public road. Racing in the streets is considered hazardous.  Street racing can either be spontaneous or well planned and coordinated. Well-coordinated races are planned in advance and often have people communicating via two-way radios or citizens’ band radio. Participants use  police scanners and GPS units to mark locations where local police are more prevalent.

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

Governor Inslee Signs Police Pursuit Bill

Police poised to regain ability to undertake more pursuits | HeraldNet.com

A new bill Gov. Jay Inslee just signed changes when law enforcement can chase criminals. It gives more latitude to police on when they can initiate a pursuit. Now, police don’t need probable cause of a violent crime to chase a criminal – just reasonable suspicion.

“I believe this is a step forward, a reasonable measure and balance, to ensure public safety.” ~Governor Jay Inslee.

The new law went into effect immediately after the signing.  Law enforcement officials need “reasonable suspicion” for violent and sexual crimes, DUI, domestic violence, and vehicular assault. The previous law, passed in 2021, required law enforcement to have “probable cause” – or hard evidence – of violent and sexual crimes, and DUI.

“With the laws that they put in place before, I could not chase that red car without probable cause, which means I need a license plate, a really specific description of the driver, or something on the vehicle that stands out that says this is the vehicle that committed that crime.” ~Sgt. Darren Moss of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Lawmakers opposed to that say pursuits are just too dangerous for the public to warrant a chase when no one has been hurt.

“Limit police vehicle pursuits to the most serious crimes. Those crimes that don’t involve injury to person can be solved in other manners,” said Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) during session on March 28.

Inslee acknowledged Wednesday that many law enforcement groups are hoping for more changes in the future.  He compared the police pursuit problem to climbing Mount Everest at the bill signing, saying it needs to be addressed step by step.

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

Federal Prisons Want Inmates to Pay Victims

5 companies compete to build new Alabama prisons

Excellent article by Tilda Wilson reports that federal prisons want inmates to pay victims before making phone calls or buying shoes.

The Bureau of Prisons is considering a rule change concerning inmates who keep large sums of money in their prison accounts. The new rule would require that 75 percent of all the money family and friends send a person in prison go to pay their outstanding debts. These debts include paying restitution to their victims.

But lawyers and advocates for people in prison feel that the proposed rule goes too far. Shanna Rifkin, deputy general counsel for Families Against Mandatory Minimums, agrees that the Bureau of Prisons should not let wealthy inmates avoid restitution. However, she also thinks the proposed rule is too broad.

“It’s really like a sledgehammer, when you could bring a tool that was much smaller to address the problem.” ~Shanna Rifkin, Deputy General Counsel for Families Against Mandatory Minimums

Other advocates, like Ellen Degnan, a staff attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, argue the courts should fix the problem themselves by setting individual payment plans during sentencing.

“Courts can solve this problem. This is not for the BOP to meddle in.” ~Ellen Degnan, a staff attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center

Even advocates for people who are owed restitution are wary of the proposed rule. Bridgette Stumpf, executive director at the nonprofit Network for Victim Recovery of D.C., thinks the rule has the potential to get some victims restitution more quickly than they would otherwise. Still, she thinks the consequences need to be balanced.

RESTITUTION OR COURT FINES?

Many of the people who would be impacted by the proposed rule do not owe victim restitution. Instead, they owe court fines and fees related to their initial sentencing.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons said that commissary accounts are a privilege. Officials will review public comments carefully. There is no deadline for a decision on this rule being made.

Jails and prisons are undesirable places. Please review Making Bail and 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.

Governor Inslee Signs Legislation Aimed at Preventing Gun Violence

WA Gov. Inslee signs new firearms regulations into law, including limits on  sale of gun magazines | The Seattle Times

Governor Jay Inslee signed three bills into law aimed at preventing gun violence in Washington state. One of the bills signed into law bans assault-style weapons. another requires safety training and a 10-day waiting period before purchasing a firearm. The third is legislation to strengthen accountability of firearm manufacturers and retailers.

“These are three victories, not one, and it is clear why we need to take this action . . . These weapons of war of assault weapons have no reason other than mass murder. Their only purpose is to kill humans as rapidly as possible in large numbers.” ~Gov. Jay Inslee

HOUSE BILL 1240

House Bill 1240 prohibits the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale, or offer for sale of any assault weapon” in Washington state. The semi-automatic rifle ban would cover more than 50 gun models, including AR-15s, AK-47s and similar-style rifles, which fire one bullet per trigger pull and automatically reload for a subsequent shot, The Associated Press reported. Some exemptions are included for sales to law enforcement agencies and the military in Washington.

“Gun violence rips loved ones from their families, devastates our communities, and traumatizes our children again and again,” said Rep. Strom Peterson (D-Edmonds) who sponsored HB 1240. “Students everywhere have been speaking up, demanding we do something to protect them. We’ve stepped up to answer them. With the Governor’s signature today, we’re sending a clear message to our kids: we hear you and we are acting to keep you safe.”

The law went into effect immediately after it was signed by Inslee on Tuesday. Gun shop owners now have 90 days to sell their inventory. When the bill passed the state House in March, Inslee said he has believed in it since 1994 when, as a member of the U.S. Congress, he voted to make it a federal law.

HOUSE BILL 1143

House Bill 1143 requires gun buyers to show they’ve taken firearm safety training before purchasing a firearm. The new law also requires a 10-day waiting period for all gun purchases — something that’s already mandatory in Washington when buying a semi-automatic rifle. HB 1143 will go into effect on January 1, 2024.

“Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children in our country,” said Rep. Liz Berry (D-Seattle) who sponsored HB 1143. “As a mom of two little ones and as a person who has lost someone who I love to gun violence, this is devastating to me. It’s simple: these bills will save lives.”

HOUSE BILL 5078

Inslee also signed Senate Bill 5078 into law Tuesday. The bill allows people whose family members die from gun violence to sue if a manufacturer or seller “is irresponsible in how they handle, store or sell those weapons.”

Under Washington’s consumer-protection act, the attorney general could file a lawsuit against manufacturers or sellers for negligently allowing their guns to be sold to minors, or to people buying guns legally in order to sell them to someone who can’t lawfully have them. SB 5078 takes effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislative session.

THE MOMENTUM, POLITICAL WILL & OPPOSITION

More than 800 people die from gun violence in Washington state each year, according to the governor’s office. Nine states including California, New York and Massachusetts, along with the District of Columbia, have already passed similar bans. the laws have been upheld as constitutional by the courts.

The ban on some semi-automatic weapon sales drew a quick legal challenge from the Second Amendment Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition. The groups sued in U.S. District Court, saying the law violates the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

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

House of Representatives Fails to Pass Drug Possession Legislation

Drug possession bill voted down last-minute in Washington state | king5.com

On Sunday, the House of Representatives rejected Senate Bill 5536. The legislation would have made the possession and use of hard drugs a gross misdemeanor. The bill failed in the final hours of the current session.

Senate Bill 5536 was introduced as a measure to significantly change drug possession laws. Many of the legislation’s original backers turned against it, citing concerns that the bill has been watered down and could cause more harm than good.

Governor Inslee responded to the results. He believed the bill was going to be the solution for a lot of drug problems in Washington. He also said he expects the legislature to draft another bill that will include pointing people to treatment services and not decriminalizing drugs.

If passed into law,Senate Bill 5536  would have superseded existing public drug use bans in cities like Kent and Bellingham. In addition, an officer would have had to simultaneously witness someone with drugs and using them to make an arrest. Democrats stood by the bill, while Republicans argued it would make things worse.

THE BLAKE DECISION.

On Feb. 25, 2021, the Washington Supreme Court issued a decision declaring the state’s main drug possession statute RCW 69.50.4013(1) unconstitutional and “void.” The ruling occurred in a case known as State v. Blake. In 2016, Shannon Blake was arrested in Spokane and convicted of simple drug possession. Blake argued that she did not know there was a baggie of methamphetamine in the jeans she had received from a friend.
The court ruled that the statute violated the due process clause of the constitution. Without any mental state requirement, the law criminalized “unknowing” drug possession and people could be arrested and convicted even if they did not realize they had drugs in their possession. The majority concluded, “The legislature’s police power goes far, but not that far.”
That case held that the state’s law making possession a felony was unconstitutional. The legislature instead classified possession as misdemeanor crimes, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.
THE POLITICAL BATTLEGROUND

Numerous mayors from across Washington state, including Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus, agreed that something needs to be done about the rise in public drug use. However, they signed a letter stating that SB 5536 is not the solution. They argued that instead of helping to crack down on the drug crisis, the bill would add more limitations.

“We’re harming people more than we’re helping,” said Backus. “There’s no teeth to it, and it is also preemptive of any local jurisdiction. Yet, despite this vote, lawmakers on both sides are hoping to find a solution that works for everyone.

“I think the important part you are hearing on both sides, which is all together, is that we care. We care,” said Rep. Maycumber.

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.