News Aug 5, 2022 at 2:33 pm

The City’s Quest for “Accountability” Also Reinforces Systemic Racism

If Ann Davison puts you on her naughty list, then you’re going straight to jail. Unless you’re more than half the people on the list who are ineligible for prosecution because you’re mentally incompetent to stand trial. Riley Frambes

Comments

1

Mr. Casey: Intellectually honesty demands you address the victims of the prolific offenders as no discussion of justice can be complete without including the plaintiffs.

Thankfully, we have a city attorney who has that moral vision.

2

think you meant "through the wringer", will, not "through the ringer". also, wouldn't it actually "reinforce systemic racism" more if people were being arrested in such a way to maintain racial balance in arrest rates, instead of just arresting people at the rate they commit crimes? most people who aren't stranger writers understand this, which is why davison was elected.

3

Go Ann, go!

4

Ha, Will goes to press while Erica Barnett just bitches about getting the run around.

https://twitter.com/ericacbarnett/status/1555245354693435392

5

"A Stranger analysis of the criminal histories of the 113 people targeted by the City Attorney’s High Utilizer Initiative (HUI), a program designed to single-out certain “prolific offenders” for prosecution, found that nearly 65% of them have not been convicted of a crime in Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) since January 1, 2020."

This of meaningless without also analyzing: (1) whether they simply failed to appear for court proceedings, and (2) whether they were convicted in King County Superior Court during that time period. Absent that additional analysis, this comes across like a cherry-picked fact intended to support this editorial opinion.

6

Reading this for a second time, I don't see any indication Will sought comment from the City Attorney's Office. Absent some explanation from Will, I have to assume this is because he wanted to present a one-sided story, to better support his opinion.

Don't be fooled: this is not journalism.

7

@of course it's not journalism. What do you expect from the spokesperson for the candidate who ran on abolishing the police and not prosecuting any crimes. Anything regarding the police or criminal justice system from Will completely lacks credibility and TS further damages whatever journalistic integrity they are scraping up these days by letting him cover these topics.

8

If "Trueblood" defendants are not mentally comptent to stand trial, why were they not already committed to mental care? Perhaps prosecuting these defendants is a way of forcing them into court, where the court might help them to get services? (The document at the "Trueblood" link seems to support this: "This agreement includes expanding residential mental health with crisis services; additional training for jail staff and law enforcement; hiring additional forensic navigators and more mental health professionals to educate courts about the availability of supports that could meet the needs of individuals who have to wait in jail for evaluation and restoration services.") If so, then the Stranger's subsequent accusation of hypocrisy against the City Attorney's office would seem to lack evidentiary weight.

Furthermore, the purpose of Community Court is to allow persons who might change their behaviors to do so, without burdening them with a criminal record. Persons not competent to stand trial are also not capable of changing their behaviors, and so do not belong in Community Court. The 20 repeat offenders initally mentioned (and then utterly forgotten), do not belong in Community Court either, as they have repeatedly refused to change their behaviors. They should go to regular court, and if found guilty, go to jail. Allowing them out onto the streets merely creates more victims (although to be fair, there's never been any indication the Stranger cares in the least about victims of street crimes).

"The Stranger's analysis found that court records listed a homeless shelter or other precarious housing as the last known address for 58% of the 113 people on the list."

Wow -- so homeless persons tend to have mental disorders, and tend to commit a lot of crimes? That's been the reality of Seattle's Homlessness crisis for the past seven years, but the Stranger has wasted most of that time pretending this was a housing-affordability crisis, not a mental-health crisis, and thus kept demanding higher taxes to provide housing which, by itself, will not help persons with mental disorders. Of course, the Stranger bothered to notice this dismal reality only after Seattle's voters elected a City Attorney who started using the laws and courts to (gasp!) protect Seattle's citizens from the many crimes committed by this population. Until then, elected officials who refused to admit this reality (then-CM O'Brien, CM Sawant) had the Stranger's full-throated approval. (Oh, look: at least one of those elected officials still does enjoy the Stranger's full-throated approval. Perhaps the Stranger needs to focus less effort on supporting enablers of the problem, on attacking those persons who are trying to solve the problem, and maybe continue to acknowledge the true sources of the problem?)

9

How do you know or not if the homeless person gave 1234 Homeless Street as their address? How do you know the police officer created that or enjoyed it?

Enough excuses for people who wore out the welcome mat because they took a dump on it then set it on fire.

10

If someone is "incompetent to stand trial" they should also be deemed "incompetent to free associate with society."

A ruling of "incompetent to stand trial" should result in immediate institutionalization to remove the "incompetent" from society until such a time as they are deemed competent.

It is cruel and inhumane to just release the "incompetent" person into the wild. It also does not recognize the trauma these "incompetent" people can cause their victims.

And before anyone gets on their high horse about cost, I'm a Democrat, of course I support paying taxes for this.

11

I'm all for putting them on buses to Texas, drop them off on guv'nah Abbott's street.

12

"Targeting" is a very grossly incorrect word for this.

13

@12… it should be called keeping all the rest of us safe, but the Stranger has changed. 10 years ago it wouldn’t have been all in for criminals. How is it businesses advertise here encouraging this?

14

Criminal justice reform was supposed to be about reduced sentences and getting rid of three strikes for shoplifting. It was NEVER supposed to be about slap on the wrist for GRAND THEFT AUTO, and I know this, because my car was destroyed by one of these coddled criminals.

15

Lol the people being “targeted” are “targeted” because they commit crime after crime after crime after crime. At some point they need to be held accountable for their actions. If they are mentally I’ll they need to be institutionalized.

Either way, they’ve proven to be unfit to be in a community.

16

I have a family member who has mental illness. they’re high risk for being homeless; adding in the black card, I worry every time they have a manic episode and has a confrontation that they will end up dead. The state gives them options for housing but they have refused it multiple times. With mental illness they don’t understand the rules of society, but we’ve taken away all the rules from them. We need to target crimes from mental illness and address it, albeit different than crime-rings or joy-crimes or even theft while under drug influence/withdrawal. It’s not their fault about the mental illness, but sometimes people don’t make the right decisions and need clear headed people to make the decisions for them. No amount of begging or offering incentives works for a manic episode. Reagan’s cutting of policies for mental health failed us all. We need to do the right thing and make the decision on their behalf.

17

Gee if you choose one select group (mentally deranged which cannot be prosecuted) and extrapolate it to the whole I guess you get a conclusion. A wrong one, but you do get a conclusion.

If the system is failing to deal with the mentally challenged, then it need to incorporate a compulsory program to treat them. That is a completely different issue altogether.

That is not the same thing as saying we should not prosecute repeat offenders who deserve to feel the full weight of the law and end our "catch and release" system of justice.

18

This is so out of touch. We are so far from any balanced approach to criminal behavior. Call me when we are actually routinely arresting and charging for criminal acts that are now routinely ignored. How about writing about victims and impact on community, and the positive impact when criminals are prevented from doing their thing? Many of us care little about the color of those committing crimes. People have choices. Those not competent to stand trial should be placed at Western for restoration of competency. Those competent should be tried and sentenced appropriate to the crime and frequency. The sentencing can be discretionary and include treatment for those addicted. Ignoring the impact on the community at this point in time and only thinking about the perpetrators is beyond tone deaf.

I certainly hope that the city's approach to illegally placed concrete blocks to prevent RV parking is matched by attention to the RV's and tents that create blight in so many places. I was filling my tank at Costco on 4th Avenue the other day and immediately to the left under the overpass was a truck disgorging piles of stuff including small propane tanks, bicycle parts and the like. Highly likely stolen but this is the new normal - in plain sight.

We are at a new low and Will Casey celebrates and defends it. Glad most Stranger readers, the mayor, city attorney and the people at large are finally seeing the light.

19

Jail may not be what they need, but they need something (hospitalization? Rehab?).

20

@19: But where will we deliver these services? Most of the mental asylums were shut down, starting in the 1960s or thereabouts. There are a few notable cases of re-offenders back out in the public because they are still waiting for bed space to open up at Western State.

Perhaps it's time to bite the bullet and scrape together some funds for mental health housing and treatment. The stuff that the GOP cut because it cost money. But they were smart enough to get the ACLU to demonize the asylum system and fight to get it closed down.

21

Came here for the comment section to absolutely dunk on this author for valuing homeless criminals over the victims of their crimes. Have not been disappointed thus far.

22

Will. You really need to get a different picture of yourself for your articles. You look like,,, well, I don’t want to say it.

23

Does it matter if jailing them will make them more likely to offend when they are on a list for repeatedly offending? Jail sucks, people don't like jail. They are crazy, not stupid. That's why they are here. Notice how lot's of these assaults/murders/lawless mayhem are perpetrated by "a man with a long criminal record in Arizona/Texas/Idaho". Snooty coastal whites are gullible. Not a secret.


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