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Court: Seizure of Passenger Okay...This Time

Posted Thursday, September 22, 2016 by Andrew Charles Huff

Our State Supreme Court just decided that detaining an arrestee’s companion in the absence of individual reasonable suspicion is permissible when officers have objective safety concerns and to secure the scene of the arrest… “so long as it remains reasonable in scope and duration.”

The type of stop the Court is referencing is called a “Terry stop,” or a stop and detention short of a full arrest.

The Court found there are reasons for police to seize companions, such as the number of officers and other people present, time of day, behavior, location of the arrest, presence of actual or suspected weapons, and officer ‘s knowledge of the arrestee or companions.

This case involved the suppression of a gun located on Mr. Flores after he had been ordered to hold his hands up and walk backward toward an officer based merely on his proximity to his companion, a suspect in a felony harassment case who had an unrelated warrant out for his arrest.

State v. Flores

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Court Says Have Some Style

Posted Monday, September 19, 2016 by Andrew Charles Huff

A sense of style can usually help one move forward but in a recent drug possession trial, the defendant wanted to “Go Basic.”

Our Washington Division One Appellate Court considered a challenge to a drug possession conviction where the defendant Mr. Terry Caver wanted to where his jail clothes instead of civilian wear at trial, but was denied so by the trial court.

But does wearing regular civilian clothes at trial prejudice the client? Not according to our Appeals Court, who upheld the conviction for possession…and having a very bad fashion sense.

State of Washington v. Terry Carver, No. 73761—9-1, 2016

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Seattle Reducing Speed Limits

Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2016 by Andrew Charles Huff

Speed limits in and around downtown Seattle will likely be reduced late this year to 25 mph, and the residential speed limit to 20 mph. The reason? To reduce traffic injuries.

Assuming the City Council approves this month, road crews would begin putting up 500 new signs in November. In addition to downtown, arterial speed limits around Seattle Center, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, First Hill, and the Chinatown International District also would be lowered to 25 mph.

Additionally, Seattle will also begin eliminating un-signaled crosswalks on four-lane streets and adding speed bumps of various sizes as well as protruding sidewalks.But one problem Seattle faces is whether the city’s relatively small police force will effectively enforce lower speeds. The traffic unit already struggles with Mercer Street gridlock, conducting crosswalk stings citywide and consistently clearing the bus lanes leaving downtown.

Currently, the standard speed limits are 30 mph on Seattle arterials and 25 mph on residential side streets, unless otherwise marked.

Traffic-collision studies show that a person struck at 20 mph has a 90 percent chance of survival, nearly twice as good as someone hit by a vehicle traveling 30 mph,

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Former Justice Charles Z. Smith Passes

Posted Friday, September 2, 2016 by Andrew Charles Huff

Charles Z. Smith, legal pioneer and Washington’s first African-American Supreme Court justice, died peacefully in his home August 28 at the age of 89.

A professor and associate dean at the University of Washington School of Law, Justice Smith’s life was distinguished by many firsts: the first person of color in the state to serve as a judge on the Seattle Municipal Court (1965-66), the first to serve on the King County Superior Court (1966-73) and the first person of color to serve as a Justice on the Washington Supreme Court (1988–2002).

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Feds Can Still Ban Gun Ownership to Medical Marijuana Users

Posted Friday, September 2, 2016 by Andrew Charles Huff

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that the federal ban against selling guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate Second Amendment rights. The court rejected the legal challenge from Nevada by finding that medical marijuana is still prohibited by federal law and may impair the judgement of gun owners. The court’s ruling will apply to all nine states in the Ninth Circuit including California and Washington.

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