law

Animal Law
3:12 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Every Dog Has Its Day (In Court)

Unlike most property, it's hard to assign a value to the pets and companion animals in our lives.
Flickr Photo/Tim Tuttle (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds sits down with Adam Karp, a Bellingham-based attorney, about working to define laws regarding animals in Washington.

Courts
3:00 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Judge Finds Public Defense In Mount Vernon And Burlington Inadequate

Steve Scher talks with Seattle University School of Law professor Robert Boruchowitz about a federal judge's decision that Mount Vernon and Burlington municipal courts have not provided adequate public defense services to indigent clients.

Jury Duty
4:16 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Behind The Twelve (Unbiased, Diverse) People That Decide Trials

Preparing for the view from the jury bench? There's a lot more to it than you might think.
Flickr Photo/Cannabis Defense Coalition

Steve Scher talks with Seattle University law professor Anna Roberts about implicit bias, jury nullification, discrimination and the usefulness of a diverse jury.

Economics And Justice
12:02 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Justice Department Tackles Quality Of Defense For The Poor

People wait in line outside the Supreme Court in February. In a landmark decision half a century ago, the justices guaranteed a lawyer for criminal defendants who are too poor to afford one.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:37 am

All over the country, lawyers who defend poor people in criminal cases have been sharing their stories about painful budget cuts. Some federal public defenders have shut their doors to new clients after big layoffs. And in many states, the public defense system has operated in crisis for years.

But an unprecedented recent court filing from the Justice Department has cheered the typically overburdened attorneys who represent the poor and could have dramatic implications for the representation of indigent defendants.

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The Fine Print
12:05 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

New Documentary About Those Terms And Conditions You Signed

Everyone who uses a computer these days likely agrees to many "terms and conditions" agreements every year. But what are you really signing? Ross Reynolds interviews director Cullen Hoback, who takes a closer look at questions of privacy and consumer rights in a new documentary.    

Same-Sex Marriage
12:29 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Same Sex Marriage: What Happens Next?

Fran Simon, left, and her partner Anna Simon, flanked by their son Jeremy, display their Colorado civil union license. They were the first couple to receive their license as the Colorado Civil Union went into effect on May 1.
AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

Last November Washington became the first state to legalize same sex marriage at the polls but today we want to check in on what is happening with the same-sex marriage debate in and out of the Evergreen State.

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Drunken Driving Laws
2:26 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Governor Inslee Pushes For Tougher DUI Penalties

Don't drink and drive.
Flickr Photo/Renee Silverman

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average drunken driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest. Here in Washington after a rather horrific spree of drunk driving related deaths, the governor is getting tough on drunken drivers by proposing tougher penalties for first-, second- and third-time offenders. One of the governor's more strident proposals would ban third-time offenders from purchasing alcohol. In this segment of the conversation listeners share their thoughts on these new and tougher proposed penalties.

Seattle City Attorney
12:00 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Why Was Pete Holmes In Copenhagen?

Pete Holmes is Seattle’s city attorney and that means his clients include the mayor, the City Council, the police and the public. Pete Holmes previously worked as a private attorney in Seattle for almost 25 years before being elected city attorney in November 2009. He was also an original member of the Seattle Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB) and served as chairman from 2003 to 2008. Ross Reynolds talks with Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes about the recent retirement of Police Chief John Diaz, the Department of Justice and what he was doing in Copenhagen. 

Drunken-Driving Laws
11:51 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Are Washington's DUI Laws Tough Enough?

Don't drink and drive.
Flickr Photo/Chimpr

Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants to crackdown on drunken drivers in the wake of some recent tragedies involving intoxicated drivers. Today, Ross Reynolds talks with New York University Langone Medical Center professor, Baron Lerner about how DUI laws and enforcement in Washington compare nationally.

Marijuana Law
2:17 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

For Legal Pot Sellers, A Big Tax Problem

Erica Freeman of Choice Organics weighs medical marijuana for a customer.
Grace Hood for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 6:56 pm

An obscure tax code provision crafted for drug dealers is giving state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries a headache.

In Colorado, federal income tax rates for dispensaries can soar as high as 70 percent because of a tax code section that does not allow businesses to claim certain deductions.

The section is known as 280E, and it was originally written for illegal drug traffickers. But today it's a thorn in the side of licensed dispensary owners like Erica Freeman.

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Defense Of Marriage Act
9:18 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Votes May Be There To Strike Down DOMA, But There's A Big 'If'

Demonstrators gathered again outside the Supreme Court Wednesday as the time approached for another case to be heard about issues related to same-sex marriage.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 11:52 am

  • NPR's Nina Totenberg: If the court strikes down DOMA, what would be the grounds?
  • NPR's Nina Totenberg: An interesting exchange about the 'power' of DOMA opponents.
  • NPR's Nina Totenberg: On what happens if the court declines to decide.

(We most recently updated the top of this post at 1:45 p.m. ET.)

There seem to be four solid votes on the Supreme Court — and possibly a fifth — to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages, NPR's Nina Totenberg told us after Wednesday's oral arguments before the nine justices.

But there's a big "if."

As in: There's possibly a 5-vote majority to strike down the law if the court first decides it should even issue an opinion.

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Chief Seattle Treaty
5:39 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Duwamish Tribe Renews Hopes For Federal Recognition

Cecile Hansen, chairwoman of the Duwamish Tribe.
Courtesy Photo

At the Duwamish Longhouse in West Seattle, Cecile Hansen traces her finger down a plaque of names. “Look at all our leaders, starting with the chief here,” Hansen says.

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Proposition 8
7:10 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Happening Now: Supreme Court Hears First Of Two Gay-Marriage Cases

The line was long Tuesday outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., as spectators came to hear the oral arguments about California's Proposition 8.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 11:45 am

  • NPR's Nina Totenberg: Three key points about Tuesday's court hearing

(Our most recent update was at 12:50 p.m. ET.)

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State Government
9:00 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Ask State Attorney General Bob Ferguson

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
Credit Courtesy/Washington State Attorney General Office

Last November, Bob Ferguson became Washington state’s 18th attorney general. One of the biggest issues he faces is how the federal government will approach legalized marijuana in Washington state. Ferguson met with Attorney General Eric Holder in January and so far, a clear policy has yet to emerge. Ferguson says if legalized marijuana is challenged by the feds, he'll defend it. What questions do you have for Attorney General Bob Ferguson? What should his priorities be? Call us at 800.289.5869 or email weekday@kuow.org.

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Science & Technology
2:06 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Forensic Advances Raise New Questions About Old Convictions

After a forensic dentist used software to correct a distortion in the image a decade later, the original expert witness recanted his testimony.
Courtesy of Jan Stiglitz

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 4:48 pm

Advances in forensic technology are showing that what used to be considered clear-cut proof of guilt may be nothing of the kind. A California case highlights a growing problem facing courts: what to do when an expert witness changes his mind because of better science and technology.

William Richards was convicted of brutally murdering his wife and is serving 25 years to life. The evidence against him was mostly circumstantial and two different juries were unable to reach a verdict. A third trial was aborted because the judge recused himself.

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