law and courts | KUOW News and Information

law and courts

Four conservation groups are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in an effort to limit the federal government’s use of deadly cyanide traps.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services killed a wolf using an M-44 cyanide trap targeting coyotes. The agency uses the devices to protect livestock from potential predators.

The governors of Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska have written a joint letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking for forbearance with their marijuana policy experiments.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) vehicle in downtown Seattle
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Washington state’s highest-ranking judge is still waiting for federal immigration officials to write her back.

Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst requested that courthouses be off limits for immigration arrests. But that option will likely stay on the table for now.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says initiative promoter Tim Eyman violated campaign finance laws for personal gain. Ferguson filed a lawsuit Friday against Eyman and a signature-gathering firm he worked closely with. 

Faced with an expiring supply of a controversial sedative, the state of Arkansas plans to execute eight men over 11 days — a pace that is unprecedented in recent U.S. history and that has been criticized by lawyers and former corrections officials.

The state is set to carry out the executions two a day on four days between April 17 and April 27. Multiple lawsuits have been filed over the schedule, citing concerns about the speed. Arkansas' governor and attorney general say the deaths will bring closure to victims' families.

Chris Hayes, host of All In With Chris Hayes on MSNBC
KUOW Photo/ Jason Pagano

Bill Radke talks to Chris Hayes, host of All In With Chris Hayes on MSNBC about his new book "A Colony In A Nation."

Most baby boomers say that they plan to keep working past conventional retirement age. But to do that, they have to get hired first. New research shows that can be harder when you're older.

Outside the home of her foster sister Renee Davis, Danielle Bargala breaks down in tears while talking about how Davis' young children are living with different families. Davis, who was pregnant, was shot at her Muckleshoot reservation home last October.
Dan DeLong for KUOW

The young mom texted her boyfriend: “Come and get the girls or call 911. I’m about to shoot myself.”


President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, to announce Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Gorsuch stands with his wife Louise.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Starting Tuesday morning, NPR Politics team cover the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A state Supreme court decision Thursday gives a Washington tribe the right to transport goods and services across state lines without taxation. Attorneys and tribal members said the case is a win on the side of tribal sovereignty.

King County's juvenile court and jail are located south of Capitol Hill.
Flickr Photo/jseattle

At any given time about 50 young people are booked into the juvenile detention facility on East Alder Street in Seattle. Some are awaiting trial, others are booked because there’s no adult to release them to. More than half are kids of color. 


Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson smiles during a news conference about President Trump's new executive order Monday, March 6, 2017, in Seattle. The new ban, which takes effect March 16, halts travel for 90 days for residents of Iran, Libya,
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The state will continue to press its legal case against President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today.

Lois Silver

UPDATE: 3/08/17, 3:50 p.m. PT 

Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 'dreamer' recently arrested near Seattle despite his DACA status, will remain in immigration detention.

A federal judge said he’ll make a decision early next week about whether to release Ramirez from a Tacoma lockup, where he has been held since Feb. 10. Ramirez is asking the court to find that his arrest violated his constitutional rights.

FLICKR PHOTO/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/av619h

Bill Radke speaks with Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel about the "gathering storm" around President Trump's attorney general. The Post broke the story that AG Jeff Sessions spoke twice with the Russian ambassador during the presidential campaign, which sounds fishy because Sessions claimed under oath that he didn't have contact with Russian officials.

Updated at 4:56 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he will recuse himself from any investigations into possible Russian involvement in the 2016 elections.

"Let me be clear: I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign," Sessions reiterated during an afternoon news conference in response to reports that he had met twice with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. last year.

"I should not be involved in investigating a campaign I had a role in," Sessions said.

President Trump signed a measure into law Tuesday that rescinds an Obama-era rule aimed at blocking gun sales to certain mentally ill people.

The GOP-majority Senate passed the bill by a 57-43 margin earlier this month, following a House vote to overturn the rule.

A measure under consideration in the Oregon Legislature would allow juries to award unlimited damages in lawsuits alleging negligence.

Juries can already award unlimited damages that are tied to actual economic harm done to victims. But the state has a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages, sometimes referred to as "pain and suffering."

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would make it illegal to check your social media feeds while you're behind the wheel. A House panel takes up the bill Monday afternoon.

During a sentencing hearing in Texas two decades ago, a defense attorney for a man named Duane Buck called on an expert who said his client's race made it more statistically likely that he would commit violent crimes in the future.

Because of that statement, the Supreme Court has ruled 6-2 that Buck, who is black, can appeal his death sentence.

It's the latest development in a case that Chief Justice John Roberts describes as "a perfect storm" of circumstances that he says culminated in a lower court "making a decision on life or death on the basis of race."

With security at the U.S.-Mexico border at the center of a seething controversy, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed torn at oral arguments on Tuesday — torn between their sense of justice and legal rules that until now have protected U.S. Border Patrol agents from liability in cross-border shootings.

The cellphone video is vivid. A Border Patrol agent aims his gun at an unarmed 15-year-old some 60 feet away, across the border with Mexico, and shoots him dead.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a case testing whether the family of the dead boy can sue the agent for damages in the U.S.

Between 2005 and 2013, there were 42 such cross-border shootings, a dramatic increase over earlier times.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, his choice for Supreme Court associate justice in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

How would U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch handle the case of the Eastern Washington florist who refused to sell wedding flowers to a same-sex couple?

It’s not completely clear, but there are some hints, Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick told KUOW’s David Hyde.

A federal appeals court says doctors in Florida must be allowed to discuss guns with their patients, striking down portions of a Florida law that restricts what physicians can say to patients about firearm ownership.

The Washington State Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a florist who declined to do flowers for a same-sex wedding broke the state’s anti-discrimination law. But the same-sex couple who won the case, isn’t celebrating too enthusiastically just yet.

‘We want youth out of the criminal justice system’

Feb 16, 2017
KUOW Photo / Natalie Newcomb

“April, do you think youth easily get away with committing crimes?

“In certain cases, yes, because adults think that we’re still learning right from wrong. What do you think, Melissa?”

“To be honest, I don’t think so. I always hear about young people getting into trouble on nationwide news or at school.”

In the RadioActive podcast, hosts Melissa Takai and April Reyes share their thoughts and experiences about the criminal justice system. 


The highest court in Washington state says a florist violated the state's anti-discrimination law when she refused to provide floral services to a gay couple.

A bipartisan proposal to repeal the death penalty in Washington state will get a hearing Wednesday morning. But the Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee said there’s no plan to hold a vote on the measure.

A jury in New York City has found Pedro Hernandez guilty of murder in the kidnapping and death of Etan Patz, who was 6 years old when he went missing in 1979. The verdict follows a mistrial nearly two years ago, after a jury became deadlocked.

Patz was never again seen by his family after he left home to walk to the school bus stop nearby. His body has never been found.

One of the sons of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky faces child sexual abuse charges in Centre County, Pa.

NPR's Jeff Brady reported that the charges against 41-year-old Jeffrey Sandusky come more than four years after his father was convicted of child sexual abuse.

"Jeffrey Sandusky was charged with 14 counts that include child sexual abuse and child pornography. His adoptive father, former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, was convicted in 2012 of abusing 10 boys," Jeff reported.

Is Thunderpussy too offensive to trademark?

Feb 13, 2017

Bill Radke talks to Molly Sides and Leah Julius of the Seattle band Thunderpussy and their struggle to trademark a name that the federal government has deemed too offensive. A case currently in the Supreme Court will determine if their name, among others, will be given trademark status. The members discuss why a trademark is so important, the misconceptions about their name and why they struggle with other names, such as the Washington Redskins, that would also benefit from this ruling.  

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