Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Courts’ Category

New report: still 100K fewer jobs in WA now than in 2007

by June 21st, 2012

Washington has had three recessions since 1990, but the current recession’s recovery has been glacially slow compared to the last two. Roughly 150,000 jobs slower, based on each economic recovery after 50 months. The slight recession in 1990 ended after a few months, and Washington’s employment grew by almost 200,00 extra jobs by the 50-month point. Washington’s recession in 2001 lost about 60,000 jobs, all regained at the 40-month point. Ultimately, Washington had 50,000 more jobs at the 50-month point than it did when that recession began. The 2007 recession has proved much more persistent, as a state report released yesterday again confirmed. Washington had lost almost 200,000 jobs after 30 months, and was still 100,000 jobs in the red at the 50-month mark in May 2012. This was part of the picture painted Wednesday in an Olympia briefing by the Washington Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, which consists of Republican and Democrat legislative budget leaders, the state budget director, the state treasureer and a support staff of economists. The council released a meeting information packet including data on post-recession jobs recoveries in Washington, and their latest quarterly revenue predictions.

From 6/20/12 meeting packet, WA Economic and Revenue Review Forecast Council

The council’s June report mirrors a similar February report that predicted a very slow economic recovery and an accompanying slow growth in future state government revenue for Washington.

Washington ranks in the middle nationally on executions

by April 3rd, 2012

According to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington is ranked twenty-fourth among U.S. states in the number of inmates it executed during the years 1930-2010, at 52. However, very few prisoners have received the death penalty in recent years; Washington has executed only five inmates during the years 1977-2010, 22nd of 50 in that time. Texas ranked first, having executed 761 inmates since 1930, and 464 between 1977 and 2010. Data on all 50 states is immediately below, in our visualization based on the BJS report.



Follow the red and blue lines closely with your mouse, to see data on all 50 states.
Source: The Bureau of Justice Statistics


According to a 2008 report by the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute on the costs involved in capital-eligible cases in Maryland, cases in which the death penalty was not sought cost on average over $1.1 million. Cases in which the death penalty was unsuccessfully sought cost on average $1.8 million, while cases in which the death penalty was successfully sought cost an average of $3 million.

A bill to abolish the death penalty in Washington, SB 5456, was introduced last year in the state legislature and reintroduced this year, but failed to advance.

Internationally, the death penalty is still very common, according to a recent report from Amnesty International summarized in The Guardian. Amnesty estimates that China alone executes thousands yearly, although exact statistics are difficult to find. China, North Korea, Yemen, Iran and the United States conduct the greatest number of executions. The United States remains the only G8 nation with a death penalty. In total, according to Amnesty, 139 countries still retain a death penalty and last year, at least 676 executions were carried out by nations other than China, roughly half of which were conducted in Iran.

Public Data Ferret’s Data Visualization archive


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the Seattle-based 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News; Donate.

Court says Kirkland firm must answer age bias firing charge

by March 22nd, 2012

In a ruling published this week the Washington State Court of Appeals reversed a “summary judgement” signed by King County Superior Court Judge Douglass A. North that a yard foreman working in Dutch Harbor, Alaska for a Kirkland, Wash.-based marine services firm essentially had no basis for claiming he was fired due to age discrimination – rather than intoxication and disorderly conduct, as his employer claimed. The decision by Division One of the state appeals court means that Craig Rice of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, will be able to proceed in King County Superior Court in Washington state with his age bias lawsuit against Offshore Systems, Inc. (OSI), headquartered at 12019 76th Place NE in Kirkland.

Ex-Bellevue teacher, SPU innovator jailed for sex crimes

by March 20th, 2012

A then-resident of Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood who had deep ties to Seattle Pacific University during his tenure as a science teacher in the Bellevue school district, this month had his state teaching license permanently revoked following a guilty plea last fall to sex crimes with a Bellevue student when she was 15 and 16 years old. Sentencing papers show Matthew James Jones, now 32, is serving two 15-month terms concurrently after he pled guilty in September, 2011 to two felony counts of first degree sexual misconduct with a minor, a girl he taught as a middle-schooler in Bellevue. State corrections records indicate he’s now incarcerated in the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. Although his Spring, 2011 arrest was widely reported, there had been no news coverage of the actual outcomes.

Connected Seattle city worker stayed on payroll after felony

by March 7th, 2012

In a ruling issued this week a state appeals court upheld the convictions for first-degree perjury, and gross misdemeanor counts of stalking and cyberstalking by a then-City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department employee named Andre L. (Luis) Franklin, now 30. The case stemmed from what the appeals court ruling details as a sexually-themed online vendetta by Franklin against another city parks worker, a woman with whom he had been romantically involved.

But the story goes deeper. Although Franklin was placed on leave in late 2008 after the victim notified city personnel authorities and parks officials understood him to have admitted the cyberstalking; public records show he somehow landed another city job – as a painter for Seattle Public Utilities earning $57,464 base pay in 2009 and $63,739 gross pay in 2010. Though public records confirm he was paid for a full year’s work in 2009 as painter for SPU, Public Data Ferret has learned he did not actually begin working at SPU until December of 2009. In addition, his defense attorney Steven Witchley of Seattle confirms Franklin is currently employed in a temporary position as a solid waste inspector for SPU.

For 5th drunk driving offense in 10 years, Maple Valley man faces felony DUI sentencing by King County judge

by February 28th, 2012

Kenneth Wayne Sandholm, 55, of Maple Valley is scheduled to be sentenced this coming Friday by King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey for up to five years in prison on a felony conviction earlier this month for Driving Under the Influence. Sandholm was convicted February 13th, for his fifth DUI offense committed within 10 years – making the most recent one a felony under state law. The circumstances of his arrest are detailed in the probable cause statement and the statement of charges.

Crossing the lines on State Route 18
According to these documents from the case file, Sandholm had four prior (misdemeanor) DUI convictions between 2000 and 2008; in Pierce County Court in 2000, 2005 and 2008; and in Tacoma Municipal Court in 2007. Each of those DUI convictions was accompanied by a conviction for driving with license suspended. On October 29, 2009 Sandholm was observed by a Washington State Patrol trooper driving east on State Route 18 just west of State Route 516 in his blue 1987 Mazda pickup and having major difficulties staying in his lane. The trooper reported that Sandholm at one point lurched from one eastbound lane into another by half a vehicle width, then after correcting, straddled the two lanes again, this time for 10 car lengths. Both before and after this, Sandholm’s vehicle went across the line dividing one lane with the road’s shoulder. The trooper stooped Sandholm, who according to the trooper’s report, had watery, bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol.

Documenting witness intimidation by phone – legally

by January 11th, 2012

Since a Washington State Supreme Court ruling in 2008, King County Jail authorities have been able to continue legally recording phone calls made by detainees. County prosecutors say calls by those charged with domestic violence especially can yield valuable evidence. Signs near phone areas warn all detainees their calls will be recorded and potentially incriminating statements may be used against them. This does not always prevent them from instructing their alleged victims not to testify, or threatening them, as shown in a recent episode of the The Justice Files from King County TV.

One in three murders in King County are domestic violence-related, says King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg.

More episodes of The Justice Files here. Also see King County TV’s YouTube channel.

RELATED: King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor David Martin was part of a research team which supervised analysis of recordings of 25 Washington State felony domestic violence detainees using phone calls to try to convince their wives or girlfriends to recant. The article was published in July 2011 in the journal Social Science and Medicine and is titled, “‘Meet me at the hill where we used to park’: Interpersonal processes associated with victim recantation.” The authors conclude that detainees use a common set of emotional tactics to urge recantation and that victim advocates should work to raise awareness among victims of these tactics.

Public Data Ferret’s King County+Courts archive


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Conviction for stalking on Aurora #358 bus route overturned

by December 19th, 2011

A state appeals court last week threw out the conviction of Akbar Mhea in Seattle Municipal Court and King County Superior Court for stalking 87-year-old Vera Galbreath of Seattle on an Aurora Avenue bus late at night and after both debarked at 80th Street. The court said although Mhea’s conduct was both “abnormal and threatening,” stalking didn’t occur because his actions comprised only one continuous episode of following and unwanted verbal contact, not repeated instances. However, an interview with the victim raises some questions.