Crime, Law and Justice

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee is demanding a renewed crackdown on drunk drivers. This after recent tragedies in the Seattle area.

The Democrat Tuesday called for more DUI patrols, more resources for prosecutors and stricter rules for ignition interlock devices.

“We've got to understand a drinking driver is just as dangerous as someone out there with a bomb in their car because that’s what they are," the governor said. "They’re rolling time bombs and that’s why I believe we need to be much more aggressive.”

Virginia Alvino / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. - Survivors of childhood sex abuse are lobbying in Salem to eliminate the time limit to press charges against their perpetrators. A committee held a hearing on a new bill Monday.

Letty Merritt, with the group OAASIS, is an advocate for sex abuse survivors. She says she was abused by four male relatives when she was younger. It wasn’t until her mid-30s, after years of therapy that she was finally able to speak out and press charges against her abusers. But Oregon’s criminal statute of limitations expires when victims like Merritt turn 30.

Oregon state lawmakers have scheduled a marathon public hearing Friday on four gun control bills. The proposals include a ban on guns in schools and criminal background checks for private gun sales.

Opponents are lining up against the measures, but some gun control advocates say the proposals don't go far enough.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – For decades, police officers in Washington have been able to obtain false driver licenses for undercover work. But this quasi-secret program inside the Department of Licensing only recently came to light. It turns out the confidential ID program was never approved by the legislature. Now two state lawmakers are calling for more oversight to prevent possible abuses.

As a street cop in the early 1980s, Mitch Barker went undercover to work drugs and vice. The Washington Department of Licensing helped him assume a fake identity.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Police officers could search students’ lockers, backpacks and pockets without permission under a bill in the Washington legislature. The measure has already passed the Washington state Senate and was the subject of a hearing Thursday in the House.

Sen. Mike Carrell introduced the bill. He’s a former high school teacher. He says it would give trained officers greater ability to head off possible tragedies.

“We’re putting our schools, our children and our personnel at potential risk," Carrell says. "You know what has happened in schools.”

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SALEM, Ore. – Corrections officers in Oregon say they need the option of being armed while they commute to and from work. Lawmakers are considering a measure to overturn a rule that bans corrections officers from bringing personal guns to the grounds of state prisons.

The 2009 personal gun rule applies to employees and visitors at most state buildings. More than a dozen lawmakers have signed onto a bill that would allow corrections officers to bring their personal weapons with them to work, as long as they leave them in a locked gun box inside their vehicle.

OLYMPIA, Wash. –Liquor control officers in Washington say they need more authority to combat the black market for booze, cigarettes and, soon, marijuana. State lawmakers on Tuesday will take testimony on a proposal to give full police powers to liquor enforcement officers.

Washington has 56 officers who police the stores and restaurants that sell liquor and tobacco products. Now that private retailers can sell booze, there are nearly three times as many liquor licenses statewide and theft has become a significant problem.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Fronts for organized crime may try to get a piece of the action as Washington moves to implement legalized marijuana. That’s the prediction of former US Attorney John McKay, a key supporter of Washington’s new pot law.

As US Attorney, John McKay prosecuted marijuana smugglers. Now he teaches law school and has become a visible activist in the legalization movement. McKay believes the regulated sale of pot to adult, recreational users is key to ending the border violence in Mexico. But he acknowledges the black market won’t go quietly into the night.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The state of Washington’s largest public sector embezzlement case ever moves forward Thursday with a guilty plea. A public works employee admits he took the money over more than 20 years in Franklin County in the southeast part of the state.

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it easier to lock up juveniles who carry guns illegally. Currently, it takes five felony convictions on firearms charges before someone under 18 is sent to a juvenile lockup.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg told a panel of Washington lawmakers the proposal would help curb youth violence.

“The truth is we don’t get many kids who get five convictions for carrying a gun because, sometime between that first one and the fifth one, they pull the gun out of their pocket and they shoot somebody.”

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