Cop Murders Spark Legal Overhaul in Washington

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by ronduke, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. ronduke

    ronduke

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    Cop Murders Spark Legal Overhaul in Washington
    By BOBBY WHITE And NICK WINGFIELD
    Washington state lawmakers on Wednesday passed five bills aimed at increasing safety for law-enforcement officials in the wake of the slayings of six police officers, in a big overhaul of the state's criminal justice system.

    The bills passed by the state's House of Representatives raise penalties for assaulting officers, increase benefits to public safety workers killed in the line of duty and end a bail practice that allowed criminals to be released without the consent of a judge. In addition, House lawmakers will later this month vote on a bill that would give judges leeway to deny bail to people accused of crimes in the interest of public safety. The bill would require voter approval in November since it would amend the state constitution.

    The efforts are Washington state's most concerted moves to revamp its criminal-justice system since 1993, when it passed the nation's first three-strikes law, said Hugh Spitzer, a University of Washington professor of state constitutional law. That law required courts to give extended sentences to offenders who commit three or more criminal offenses.

    The overhaul has national implications, since other states that passed laws following heinous crimes have been copied elsewhere. After Florida enacted a law requiring tighter restrictions on sex offenders in response to the murder of nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford by a convicted sex offender in 2005, for instance, more than 20 states implemented similar laws.

    Washington's overhaul may spur states like Oregon and Indiana to take action, since they have similar constitutions, Mr. Spitzer said. "Washington's changes may force other states to re-evaluate some of their public safety provisions," he said. "The bail law was very old and needed broadening and there are many states that have similar provisions."

    Washington's bills follow the murders of six police officers in the state since October. The violence provoked an outcry and rattled law-enforcement nerves around the Puget Sound region, with many officers changing their habits to be less predictable. "I don't go to the same coffee shop routinely anymore," said Mike Hope, a Seattle police officer and a Republican state representative from Lake Stevens, Wash., who backs the bail reform bill. "I'm a little more aware. I think everyone's in that position."

    But the revamp has stirred opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union, public defenders and criminal defense associations. They say the bail proposals could curtail a basic protection of the legal system against individuals accused but not convicted of crimes.

    Still, Wednesday's measures are expected to pass in the Senate in the coming weeks and be signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire.

    "The shootings sent shockwaves through the community," says Rep. Chris Hurst, a Democrat and chair of the state's Public Safety Committee. "People couldn't believe this happened and want to take whatever measures necessary to prevent it from happening again."

    The case that stoked particular outrage involved four police officers in Parkland, Wash., who were shot and killed at a coffee shop by Maurice Clemmons, a parolee who was himself later killed by a Seattle police officer. Mr. Clemmons had just been released on bail from an Arkansas state prison for assault when he shot the officers.

    The lack of inter-state coordination between Arkansas and Washington over supervision of Mr. Clemmons pushed Washington legislators to enact a moratorium in December on accepting parolees from Arkansas until proper safety controls were put in place.

    The moratorium is set to remain in effect until state public-safety officials review Arkansas's procedures and Gov. Gregoire has determined that Arkansas is living up to its responsibilities for monitoring parolees, says a spokeswoman for the governor
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703575004575043630845268398.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5
     
  2. spdski

    spdski NRA Life Member CLM

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    Translation: The legislature actually did something good, for once. Yay for America!!
     

  3. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    You can always tell you are on the right track if the ACLU and the criminal defense liars are upset.
     
  4. SPDSNYPR

    SPDSNYPR Zippy's Friend.

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    Must be good **** if the ACLU doesn't like it. **** them.
     
  5. glock192327

    glock192327 Where is eye

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    ^
    What he said.....^
     
  6. fastbolt

    fastbolt

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    :animlol:

    :smoking:
     
  7. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

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    It just keeps getting better, don't it?
    Isn't that a redundant statement sorta like liberal democrat America haters?:whistling:

    I think it's a good thing but as some of the recent shootings showed, the possible penalties and ramifications are not deterrents as these guys were ready to go out in a blaze of glory taking down as many cops as they can while it lasts.