law and courts | KUOW News and Information

law and courts

Dozens of murals hang on the walls at the Northwest Detention Center. They're painted by detainees, and the designs must be approved by staff. Painting is also considered a voluntary job, and the artists are paid $1 per day for their work.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

A federal program that gives legal status to some undocumented youth is under legal threat.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, was established five years ago under President Barack Obama. But a deadline is looming that could dismantle the program.  

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked how he viewed the car attack in Charlottesville, Va., here's how he responded:

"It does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute," he told ABC's Good Morning America.

That certainly seems to suggest the government is looking into a possible terrorism charge against the suspect, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. At Saturday's rally organized by white supremacists, a car slammed into counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 19.

Charleena Lyles' father, Charles Lyles, with his wife and attorneys
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

The family of Charleena Lyles has filed a legal claim against the city of Seattle. Lyles, an African American mother of four, was fatally shot by police in June.

This claim is the first step toward bringing a civil rights wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the Seattle Police Department.

Five openly transgender members of the U.S. military are suing President Trump and other leaders of the U.S. government over Trump's declaration, over Twitter, that trans people will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military. The suit alleges that Trump's directive is "arbitrary and capricious," unconstitutionally depriving the service members of due process.

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing back against the federal government.

On Monday, the city is filing suit against the Department of Justice, which announced it would withhold millions of dollars in police grant money from so-called sanctuary cities.

Emanuel is suing because he says new rules for a federal crime-fighting grant go against the Constitution and the city's values.

"Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate," Emanuel said.

Bill Radke speaks with Eugene Volokh and Dr. Jim Sulton Jr. about race-based college admissions.

Washington state passed a law in 1998 that prevented colleges from using affirmative action. Sulton says that the law has harmed students of color by sending a message that they are not welcome, and that affirmative action allows for a more diverse campus.

Volokh argues that studies show affirmative action has harmed students of all races by shifting the focus away from education and creates divisions between different groups.

Volokh is a law school professor at UCLA and Sulton is the former executive director of the Higher Education Coordinating Board. 

Marcus Hutchins' Twitter account suddenly went quiet a day ago when the FBI took him into custody in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The 23-year-old British citizen — who was praised earlier this year when he was credited with helping to control a global ransomware attack — was in town attending the Black Hat and DefCon cybersecurity conferences.

You may have read that Bigfoot was found dead on a lake shore in New Mexico this summer. He wasn't. You can learn about that hoax here from the myth-busting and fact-checking site Snopes.

You may have heard NASA predicted the Earth will endure 15 straight days of darkness this fall. It didn't. Snopes has that covered too — debunking the claim when it first appeared in 2015 and again in May when it resurfaced.

KUOW/John Ryan

Eleven states including Washington have sued the Trump administration to improve safety at the nation’s refineries and chemical plants.

The lawsuit, led by New York's Attorney General, aims to force the Environmental Protection Agency to revive safety rules enacted in the final days of the Obama administration.

A detainee sits in the intake area at the Tacoma Detention Center in 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

When the Department of Justice ordered a group of Seattle lawyers to stop helping in some immigration cases, the lawyers fought back.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Richard Jones sided with the lawyers again in a nationwide ruling.

O.J. Simpson will find out on Thursday if he soon will be released from the Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada. He has been held there for nearly nine years for convictions on armed robbery and other charges.

The former NFL hero, TV pitchman and movie star, now 70, stands a good chance of being granted parole when he appears before the Nevada Parole Board via video link. No one has registered to testify against him. He will likely try to persuade the board of his good behavior behind bars.

If paroled, Simpson would be released from prison no sooner than Oct. 1.

President Trump says if he had known ahead of time that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, he would have chosen someone else for the post, calling the move "very unfair."

In an interview with The New York Times, he also accused James Comey, the FBI director that he fired in May, of trying to save his job by leveraging a dossier of compromising material on Trump.

The debate over whether the president of the United States can be charged with a crime is as old as the country itself.

Early evidence comes from the diary of a Pennsylvania senator, who recorded "a heated debate on this very issue" in September 1789, said Hofstra University Law School professor Eric Freedman.

"For those who believe in original intent, we have pretty good evidence of original intent," Freedman said. "The founders just disagreed on the very question."

Texting or holding a phone to your ear while driving is already illegal in Washington state. But starting Sunday, Washington state troopers and local police will begin enforcing a toughened law against distracted driving.

Diontae Moore-Lyons, 17, right, is escorted back to his unit by manager Shawn Northcutt at Green Hill School in Chehalis, Wash., on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Green Hill School is a medium/maximum security, fenced facility for teenage male offenders.
KUOW Photo/Dan DeLong

When black youth enter the criminal justice system, most of the people in authority they come into contact with — social workers, lawyers, the jury — are white.

Diontae Moore-Lyons, 17, is currently incarcerated at Green Hill School in Chehalis, Washington, the state's maximum security facility for juveniles.

Updated 2 p.m.

A day late, the Justice Department complied this morning with a federal court order and released part of a security clearance form dealing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' contacts with foreign governments.

On June 12, a judge had ordered the agency to provide the information within 30 days, a deadline that passed on Wednesday.

In a filing Thursday morning with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department released that part of Sessions' form which poses the question:

Manuel stands next to a window in his English class.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Every year tens of thousands of children unlawfully cross the border without parents or guardians. They’re fleeing violence and poverty.


A free speech law center says President Trump and his staff are breaking the law when they block his critics on Twitter. The Knight First Amendment Institute has filed a lawsuit saying the president's Twitter feed is a public forum protected by the First Amendment.

When Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer last June, did he break any U.S. laws?

Temple of Justice, Washington Supreme Court, Olympia
Flickr Photo/Aidan Wakely-Mulroney/https://flic.kr/p/dsJvKb

The Washington State Supreme Court has raised the bar for removing jurors of color from an all-white panel.


Andre Taylor, brother of Che Taylor, who was killed by Seattle Police on Feb. 21, 2016 addresses a crowd of protesters on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

An organization advocating to reduce police violence launched a campaign for a measure that would change law enforcement training. De-Escalate Washington introduced the measure Thursday.

Attorneys general from Massachusetts, New York and 16 other states filed suit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her department Thursday, accusing DeVos of breaking federal law and giving free rein to for-profit colleges by rescinding the Borrower Defense Rule.

Fourteen states — including Oregon and Washington — are threatening to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating the Clean Air Act.

In a letter to the EPA sent Thursday, the group argues Director Scott Pruitt broke the law when he ordered his agency to halt part of the rule-making process for regulating methane and other air pollution from oil and gas facilities.

A grand jury indicted three Chicago police officers on felony charges on Tuesday, accusing them of conspiring to cover up the facts of a fatal police shooting in October 2014 of a black teenager in order to shield their fellow officer.

Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is white, shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, according to prosecutors.

Note: This story contains a description of the alleged sexual assault at the center of the case.

A juror in the criminal trial of Bill Cosby says testimony from a second woman who said she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby did not weigh heavily on the panel's 52 hours of deliberations. That statement comes in spite of prosecutors' hope that hearing from an additional accuser would have shown jurors that Cosby had a pattern of behavior.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A portion of President Trump’s travel ban on six majority Muslim nations is set to be reinstated on Thursday. Much has changed since the initial ban rolled out in late January, leading to a weekend of chaos and protest at Sea-Tac Airport. This time around is likely to be more subdued.


Updated at 7 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that taxpayer-funded grants for playgrounds available to nonprofits under a state program could not be denied to a school run by a church.

"The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

The Supreme Court says it will decide the fate of President Trump's revised travel ban, agreeing to hear arguments over immigration cases that were filed in federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland and allowing parts of the ban that has been on hold since March to take effect.

The justices removed the two lower courts' injunctions against the ban "with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," narrowing the scope of those injunctions that had put the ban in limbo.

Updated 12:30 p.m. ET

President Trump kept one of his campaign promises, signing a bill Friday to make it easier for the secretary of veterans affairs to fire and discipline employees. It came in response to the 2014 VA scandal in which employees covered up long wait times while collecting bonuses.

The bill, which passed earlier this month with strong bipartisan support, also gives the secretary authority to revoke bonuses and protects whistleblowers who report wrongdoing.

Two government watchdog groups, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive, filed a lawsuit Thursday against President Trump and the Executive Office of the President.

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