Appeals Court Ruling Could Blow Hole in Budget for Youth Jail: In a ruling yesterday, the state Court of Appeals didn't buy the argument that voters were misled when voting on the new King County youth jail and courthouse, but did agree that the county miscalculated the property taxes it's been collecting for the project. A lawyer for Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC), which brought the case, says the ruling means a "$200 million hole in the budget." King County plans to appeal the ruling. Crosscut explains.
Also In Youth Jail News: King County is suing the City of Seattle over the ongoing fight for the permits necessary to build the jail. (The complaint also names a long list of advocacy organizations in town, including EPIC, Block the Bunker, One America and others.) A recently passed city ordinance was meant to give youth jail opponents a new chance to appeal the permit, but King County's lawsuit argues the ordinance can't be applied retroactively.
Defense Attorneys Say City Attorney’s Crackdown on Johns Has Dire Consequences for Immigrants: Sydney Brownstone and Steven Hsieh report on how the city attorney's office is not offering diversion programs to people charged with buying sex. After a 10-day sting last summer, City Attorney Pete Holmes' office has been prosecuting a series of misdemeanor cases of sexual exploitation. But the lawyer for one of those johns documented in a motion how, rather than pushing for the usual pre-trial diversion programs offered to people charged with buying drugs or other misdemeanors, the city attorney's office pushes for guilty pleas from sex buyers. Anita Khandelwal, policy director for the Department of Public Defense, called Holmes’ tactic "unusual and illegal" and said many of her office's clients are poor and marginalized. "Mr. Holmes’ statement that criminalizing buyers results in changed behavior is not supported by the evidence," Khandelwal said. "The war on drugs did not reduce drug use but it filled prisons." Other lawyers say it could be particularly harmful to immigrants, who could face deportation for crimes of "moral turpitude." Read the full story here.
Republicans Are Still Trying to Make the Price Tag of ST3 a Thing: Republicans in Olympia are leading an investigation into Sound Transit, claiming the agency misled state lawmakers when it asked for taxing authorization for the recently passed Sound Transit 3 measure. The lawmakers say the agency initially said it would propose a $15 billion package and then later proposed a $54 billion package. But what the legislature was voting on was the tax rate, not how long those taxes could last. Sound Transit got the taxing authority it needed and then proposed a longer transit package to raise more money. David Gutman has more coverage from the first hearing of the investigation.
The Last Western Coal Export Proposal Looks Dead: The state Department of Ecology denied a permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminal, saying the project has issues with safety, pollution, water quality, and tribal resources. If that denial stands, it "would kill the last remaining proposal in the state to export Western coal to Asia," the Seattle Times reports.
Orca Population at 30 Year Low: Researchers say this year has market the biggest decline in the orca population, KUOW reports. That comes after a 2-year-old male orca died by malnutrition, the seventh to die this year.
Man Awarded $500,000 for Wrongful Conviction Is Headed Back to Prison: A Seattle man who served 10 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit and then received $500,000 from the state has now been sentenced on new drug and gun charges.
Everett Can Continue with Suit Against Pharmaceutical Company: After Everett sued Purdue Pharma, claiming the company allowed pills to end up on the black market there, the company asked U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez to throw out the case. The judge denied that request, allowing the case to move forward.
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