law and courts | KUOW News and Information

law and courts

During arguments at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the justices seemed, by a narrow margin, to be leaning toward upholding the the third iteration of the Trump travel ban.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often the deciding vote in close cases, for example, made repeated comments suggesting that the court does not usually second-guess a president's national security decisions — even in the context of an immigration law that is seen as banning discrimination based on nationality.

A federal judge has ruled against the Trump administration's decision to end deportation protections for some young immigrants, saying the White House was "arbitrary and capricious" in moving to end the Obama-era DACA program.

In a blow to President Trump, who has long railed against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates for the District of Columbia said the Department of Homeland Security had failed to provide an adequate rationale for why the program is unlawful.

The sentencing of former Washington Auditor Troy Kelley has been delayed until the end of June while his attorneys seek to have Kelley’s federal conviction for possession of stolen funds overturned--or a new trial granted.

A memorial for Charleena Lyles is shown outside of Solid Ground Brettler Family Place on Monday, June 19, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

A Seattle nonprofit is no longer part of a lawsuit filed by the family of Charleena Lyles. A King County judge dismissed Solid Ground from the wrongful death suit Friday.

Superior Court Judge Julie Spector ruled that Solid Ground was not legally responsible for the police shooting.

At the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, inmates with mental illness are locked down in their cells for up to 16 hours a day, even if they pose little risk. That’s one of the allegations in a lawsuit Disability Rights Washington plans to file in federal court in Spokane on Monday.

Tera Oglesby and her son join protesters outside the construction site of King County’s new youth detention center in Seattle, where three clergy members chained themselves together around a construction beam.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A protest at the site for the new King County youth detention center apparently halted construction this morning.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is levying a $1 billion fine against Wells Fargo — a record for the agency — as punishment for the banking giant's actions in its mortgage and auto loan businesses.

Wells Fargo's "conduct caused and was likely to cause substantial injury to consumers," the agency said in its filings about the bank.

A fish-friendly culvert in Washington state
Flickr Photo/Washington DNR (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/cCuMVy

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington law professor Robert Anderson about a U.S. Supreme Court case involving Native American fishing rights in Washington state. At issue is whether Washington state should pay to fix culverts, which block the passage of salmon.

Virginia Cole, with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, teaches a legal aid class at the Northwest Detention Center on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Tacoma.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Every day at detention centers around the country, lawyers give "know your rights" presentations to immigrants facing deportation. For many, it’s the only legal help they’ll get.

And the feds just pulled the money for the program.

The owner of a seafood processing company in Pierce County, Washington, has pleaded guilty in a case involving the illegal sale of sea cucumbers, leathery creatures that are considered a delicacy to eat in some cultures.

Marilyn Covarrubias, center, is comforted as she begins to cry while testifying about the shooting death in 2015 of her son by police, at a House Public Safety Committee hearing on Jan. 31, 2017, in Olympia, Wash.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The family of an unarmed Native American man killed by Lakewood Police in 2015 is suing the city in federal court. The complaint accuses the department of racial bias and negligence in its training.

Lawyers are more likely to strike people of color from their jury selection, research shows, making juries more white. The effect of predominantly white juries is well documented. 

Now Washington state’s highest court has adopted a new rule aimed at reducing this racial bias.


Dan Shefet is an unlikely tech revolutionary. He's not a young math geek who builds driverless cars, nor does he promise to make a tech product for the masses. His crusade is different. The 63-year-old year old Shefet has staged an astonishingly effective campaign in Europe to thwart the torrent of fake news and damaging personal attacks that course through the Internet by taking on the tech giants.

It looks like one of the marquee cases before the U.S. Supreme Court is about to go bust — sabotaged by a needle in a legislative haystack.

The question in the case is whether a U.S. technology company can refuse to honor a court-ordered U.S. search warrant seeking information that is stored at a facility outside the United States.

Oral arguments took place at the Supreme Court last month, and they did not go well for Microsoft, the tech giant that is challenging a warrant for information stored at its facility in Ireland.

The playground at Wellspring Family Services in Seattle looks like a pretty happy place, with two and three-year-olds climbing on a jungle gym and zooming around on scooters. But it’s not always so peaceful here.

Bevette Irvis, the director of the Early Learning Center, tells the story of a boy who came to school the day after he had watched his Dad hold a knife to his Mom’s throat.

Flickr Photo/Johnny Silvercloud (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/AVYE3d

The federal appeals court in Seattle has sided with Marvin Gaye, the late Motown legend.

Three years ago, Betsy Deane's son was killed in an automobile accident. Now, the Pasco, Washington, grandmother hopes a new state law will allow her to reunite with the granddaughter she hasn’t been able to see since.

Immigrant rights activist Maru Mora Villalpando speaks to supporters after an initial court hearing on her deportation case.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Prominent immigrant rights activist Maru Mora Villalpando has asked a Seattle immigration judge to throw out her deportation case.

Villalpando’s lawyers claim the Bellingham resident was unlawfully targeted because of her political activity and protests against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

On the final day of the Washington legislative session last week, lawmakers passed a bill to make it easier to prosecute police for negligent shootings. It was a compromise agreed to by groups on all sides to keep a potentially divisive initiative off the November ballot.

Now professional initiative sponsor Tim Eyman, who wasn't previously involved on this issue, filed a lawsuit Monday that argues the legislature wrongly denied the voters a say.

In a small conference room in Washington, D.C., a handful of lawyers and paralegals — most of them in their 20s — process applications coming in to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.

A new Washington state law designed to crack down on felons, domestic abusers and others who lie and try to buy a gun is already resulting in prosecutions.

Friends, family and neighbors were worried about Nikolas Cruz. So were social workers, teachers and sheriff's deputies in two counties.

As classes at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resumed two weeks after the shooting rampage that left 17 people dead, it is increasingly clear that Cruz, the alleged gunman, was deeply troubled.

Paid time off to care for a new child or a sick family member used to be a part of the Democratic Party platform. Now, Republicans are making paid family leave a legislative policy.

"Let's support working families by supporting paid family leave," President Trump urged Congress in his State of the Union address last month.

Amy Wales, daughter of Thomas Wales speaks at a news conference on February 21, 2018 in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Kim Malcolm talks with David Payne and Jody Gottlieb about the unsolved murder of Federal Prosecutor Thomas Wales. In 2001, Wales was shot to death in his Queen Anne home. Payne and Gottlieb are former CNN journalists and creators of the podcast Somebody Somewhere.

Courtesy of 350 Seattle/Alexandra Blakely

Thirteen kids are suing the state of Washington and its governor to protect their generation from climate change.

The plaintiffs range in age from 7 to 17.


Sketch by Peter Millett

Update 2/15/18, 12:30 p.m.

Raphael Sanchez pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of a wire fraud and aggravated identity theft scheme involving the stolen identities of numerous people. The plea recommends a four-year sentence and restitution paid to victims. A judge will decide sentencing in May.

Flickr Photo/Brian Stalter (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Kim Malcolm talks with Alison Holcomb about Seattle's move to vacate convictions for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Holcomb is director of strategy for the ACLU of Washington and the architect of Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana in Washington.

Musa Sesay completes paperwork while waiting to meet with an immigration expert at McCaw Hall in Seattle on January 23, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Immigrants and refugees can get some free legal services this Saturday at the Seattle Center. For the second year, the city is hosting what it calls a “mega workshop” that aims to help more than a thousand people with citizenship applications and other immigration issues.

Read these lyrics about regret from incarcerated youth

Feb 1, 2018
KUOW PHOTO/Lila Kitaeff

Two young men created this song at the Echo Glen Children's Center, a maximum security facility in Snoqualmie, in a series of workshops with RadioActive Youth Media. This was RadioActive's first workshop at Echo Glen.


Updated at 7 p.m. ET

Prosecutors in San Francisco will throw out thousands of marijuana-related convictions of residents dating back to 1975.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said Wednesday that his office will dismiss and seal 3,038 misdemeanor convictions dating back before the state's legalization of marijuana went into effect, with no action necessary from those who were convicted.

Prosecutors will also review up to 4,940 felony convictions and consider reducing them to misdemeanors.

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