law and courts | KUOW News and Information

law and courts

A police officer in Charlotte, N.C., will not face charges in the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott.

Scott's death in September unleashed two days of unrest in Charlotte, when protesters took to the streets and in some cases threw objects at police and smashed windows.

R. Andrew Murray, the Mecklenburg County district attorney, said during a news conference Wednesday that he was "entirely convinced" that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Brentley Vinson "was lawful in using deadly force."

The U.S. Supreme Court takes up important immigration questions Wednesday, even as President-elect Donald Trump talks of pushing for more deportations. The legal issue before the court tests whether people who are detained for more than six months have a right to a bond hearing.

The former North Charleston, S.C., police officer charged with murder in the death of an unarmed black man during a traffic stop took the stand Tuesday to testify in his own defense.

Michael Slager is accused of gunning down Walter Scott after pulling him over for a broken taillight. If convicted, Slager could face life in prison.

After Donald Trump is sworn in as president on Jan. 20, he will follow a time-honored tradition and make his way from the U.S. Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Along the way, just a few blocks before he reaches the White House, he'll pass the Trump International Hotel. The 263-room luxury hotel is becoming the focus of a debate over conflict of interest between Trump and his business dealings.

Eli Sanders, Rob McKenna and Mayor Ed Murray participate in KUOW's 'Week in Review' in front of a live audience at the Vera Project on Fri. July 31, 2015.
KUOW File Photo/Gil Aegerter

In 2012, the City of Seattle and the federal government agreed to implement sweeping reforms of the city’s police department.

Flickr photo/Sound Transit Special Selection (CC BY 2.0) / https://flic.kr/p/v5Pwp5

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray spent part of his Thanksgiving signing an executive order reaffirming policies to protect immigrants. Murray says Seattle will maintain its status as a welcoming city and announced the policy in a video message.

Kellyanne Conway, a Trump transition senior adviser, defended President-elect Donald Trump's handling of his business interests, telling NPR in an interview that concerns about the influence his children may have in mixing their roles and the Trump companies with advising their father are unfounded.

A march protesting the Seattle police shooting of Che Taylor on Feb. 21, 2016 moves through downtown Seattle on Feb. 25, 2016.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Deborah Wang speaks with Jeff Robinson, about the possibility of changing Washington state law that protects law enforcement officers involved in a deadly shooting. The law currently states that police officers can only be convicted of the shooting if it is proved they acted with "malice" and with a lack of "good faith." Those are the most protective standards in the country. Robinson believes the law unfairly shields police from prosecution. Robinson is deputy legal director and director of the Trone Center for Justice and Equality at the ACLU.  

Wang also spoke with Craig Bulkley, president of the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs,  about why he believes the law should stay the way it is written. Bulkley, who is also a law enforcement officer in Spokane, says there is no evidence that police are hiding behind the word "malice."

A legislative task force is expected to make a recommendation on how the state law should be changed. 

When comedian Bill Maher offered $5 million to Donald Trump if he could prove he wasn't the son of an orangutan, Trump did something he's done many times before: He sued.

Immigrants packed a gym in Bellevue on Thursday night to talk about Trump's immigration plan.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Hundreds of immigrants packed a school gym on Thursday night. But not for something normal, like a basketball game.


Disabled inmates are suffering from discrimination and isolation in Washington jails. That’s the finding of a report out Wednesday from Disability Rights Washington.

Bill Radke talks to Northwest News Network reporter Anna King about the case against Arlene's Flowers in Richland being decided in the Washington State Supreme Court.  

Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll are suing Arlene's Flowers for refusing to take their business when they were looking for a florist to arrange their wedding flowers. 

A federal civil trial in Seattle against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway is on hold pending a tentative settlement in a case brought by seven environmental groups that has been in litigation since 2013.

Plaintiffs argued coal dust and pieces of coal the company ships from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin across the Northwest have been polluting Washington’s waterways for years in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

The Washington Supreme Court Tuesday heard the case of a florist versus a same-sex couple who wanted flowers for their wedding in 2013. The owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, refused to take the job, saying it was against her religious beliefs.

Back in 2013, Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll were engaged to be married. Ingersoll remembers it was on a Friday, his birthday, when he asked the couple's long-time florist, Arlene's Flowers, to do arrangements for their upcoming wedding.

"We had gone to Arlene's for many years and enjoyed her service. She did a great job for us. So it was just natural for us to go there and have her do our flowers," Ingersoll says.

Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning is asking President Obama to grant her clemency saying she is requesting "a first chance at life."

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after perpetrating one of the largest leaks of classified information in U.S. history.

Hate crimes in 2015 were more than 6 percent more frequent than they were in 2014, with a two-thirds increase in religiously motivated attacks against Muslims.

The FBI's Hate Crimes Statistics, 2015 report tallied more than 5,850 hate crime incidents in 2015.

Most of the crimes were intimidation, vandalism or assault.

Most of those — 56.9 percent — were racially motivated, with more than half of race-based attacks targeting African-Americans.

Three incumbent Washington Supreme Court justices appear headed to easy re-election. Justices Mary Yu, Barbara Madsen and Charlie Wiggins are all leading their challengers by double digit margins.

Seven environmental groups want to prove coal being hauled by rail is polluting Washington’s waterways. If they are successful, the outcome could have huge implications for the way trains are regulated going forward.

The case is scheduled to go to trial in Seattle Monday.

Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as attorney general of the United States, died early Monday from complications of Parkinson's disease. Reno's goddaughter Gabrielle D'Alemberte and sister Margaret Hurchalla confirmed her passing to NPR.

Reno spent her final days at home in Miami surrounded by family and friends, D'Alemberte told The Associated Press. She was 78.

Reno served longer in the job than anyone had in 150 years. And her tenure was marked by tragedy and controversy. But she left office widely respected for her independence and accomplishments.

Updated at 7:46 p.m. ET

Following up on his letter that set off a firestorm of speculation just two weeks before U.S. voters head to the polls to choose a new president, FBI Director James Comey says the investigative team that analyzed a new trove of emails that were either to or from Hillary Clinton has finished its work — and that the review doesn't change the findings he put forth in July, when he said no charges will be pursued against Clinton.

No-GMO food label
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Washington state officials are calling it the largest campaign-finance penalty in U.S. history.

A Thurston County Superior Court judge on Wednesday ordered the Grocery Manufacturers Association to pay an $18 million fine for deliberately hiding its donors.

At the Supreme Court on Monday, the justices heard arguments in the case of a girl with disabilities, her service dog and the school that barred the dog from the premises.

Ehlena Fry was born with cerebral palsy, which significantly limits her mobility but not her cognitive skills. So when she was about to enter kindergarten in Napoleon, Mich., her parents got a trained service dog — a white furry goldendoodle, named Wonder.

In the shadow of trees covering Chapman Square park in downtown Portland, four of seven defendants acquitted of conspiracy in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge posed for pictures.

The Supreme Court said Friday it will hear a case regarding transgender students' right to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

The justices will hear the case sometime next year.

At issue is whether a Virginia high school student is allowed to use the boys' bathroom. NPR's Nina Totenberg reports:

'Week in Review' panel Sherman Alexie, Phyllis Fletcher, Rob McKenna and Bill Radke.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

What do you do if you’re an anti-Trump Republican or anti-Hillary Democrat? Should you vote for a third party candidate?          

And this week the Brady Walkinshaw campaign released its first attack ad against opponent Pramila Jayapal in the 7th Congressional District race. After the ad was released Jayapal's campaign accused the ad of being racist and misogynistic. Was the ad “Trump-like?”

Reaction is coming in fast to the not guilty verdicts for the seven Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers.

The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice released exactly the same press release saying while they had hoped for a different outcome, they respect the verdicts and thanked the jury.

But outdoor groups are angry.

Audubon Society President David Yarnold said he’s outraged and that wild lands belong to everyone, not the people who hold them at gunpoint. He said the verdicts undermines the rule of law.

Flickr Photo/Brian Turner (CC BY 2.0)/ http://bit.ly/1QiDCKB

Kim Malcolm talks with Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson about the benefits and drawbacks of electing judges. In Washington, we elect judges at all levels by popular vote in non-partisan races.

The end of the six-week trial for seven people who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon can be summed up in two words: not guilty.

A 12-person jury found occupation leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy not guilty Thursday of the government's primary charge: conspiracy to impede federal officers by force, threat or intimidation. Their five co-defendants — Jeff Banta, Shawna Cox, David Fry, Kenneth Medenbach and Neil Wampler — have all been found not guilty as well.

State and federal law protect the rights of Native American children even when one of their parents is not Indian. That’s the word today from the Washington state Supreme Court.

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