The case before the high court involved Seattle doctor Louis Chen. Chen is accused of murdering his partner and their young son two years ago in their apartment on First Hill.
Attorneys for Chen had argued that their client’s mental competency review be kept secret under a state statute that limits who can see the information.
The high court disagreed.
Michelle Hubbard, a media law attorney at Allied Law Group, says in its ruling the court wrote that the constitutional presumption of openness trumps state law. “What this does is make clear that the same rules apply to court proceedings as to court records. Courts are open. Court records are open," Hubbard said.
The high court, Hubbard said, was clear about why it’s important that the public have access to this type of information. Defendants who are deemed not competent could be committed for an indeterminate amount of time Hubbard said.
A King County Superior Court judge has ruled Chen competent to stand trial. He’s been charged with two counts of aggravated first degree murder. Prosecutors said they will not seek the death penalty.
The trial is expected to start this spring. If he’s found guilty, Chen faces life in prison without parole.
Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 5:08 pm
The FBI is hoping a more detailed timeline and newly released video will revive a stalled investigation into a serial killer suspected of 11 murders -- four of them in Washington state. Israel Keyes committed suicide last year in an Alaska jail cell before agents could identify all his victims.
Copper wire theft is a persistent problem. Most recently it put out the lights for property owners along Tacoma’s Thea Foss Waterway. Why is copper such a valuable thing to steal? And where is it being sold? Jay Sternoff is the legislative liaison for the Washington Chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. He talks to Ross Reynolds about the world of stolen copper.
When kids are convicted of crimes, judges often have a choice: they can send those kids to jail, or they can place them in programs that don’t involve incarceration. Options include electronic home monitoring, group care or work crews. According to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, sending juvenile offenders to jail can have dire consequences for their futures. The study finds that kids who spend time in jail are 22 percent more likely to end up in jail as adults, and 13 percent less likely to graduate from high school. Read about it here.
How are juvenile offenders punished here Washington state? David Hyde find out from Paul Holland, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Law Professor at Seattle University.
There have been two major cases of metal theft this week. Yesterday federal prosecutors charged two men with allegedly stealing more than seven thousand feet of copper wire at SeaTac Airport. That followed an earlier case where thieves made off with more than four miles of copper wire from Sound Transit.
Seattle Police are warning parents to keep their young children within sight after a rash of apparent kidnapping attempts involving 3- and 4-year-old boys.
The latest incident happened Monday morning outside Coe Elementary School in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. Seattle Police spokeswoman Renee Witt says a woman told police she had left her 4-year-old son inside her parked car while she walked her daughter to the school.
Drivers convicted of an alcohol related DUI are required to install a breathalyzer device in their vehicle. Since January they're also required to install cameras so that the test taker can be verified.
City police departments often have testy relations with their local superheroes, at least in the movies. In "The Amazing Spider-Man" they issue a warrant for his arrest. In "The Dark Knight Rises," a cop pledges to take down Batman.
It’s been one month since a fatal car crash in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood killed two pedestrians near Eckstein Middle School. The collision also severely injured two people, including an infant, who was 10-days-old at the time.