Smoke ‘em if you had ‘em
Seattle Municipal Court judges issued an order Monday creating a process to vacate as many as 542 marijuana possession convictions by mid-November.
City Attorney Pete Holmes and Mayor Jenny Durkan filed an order this year requesting that the court vacate misdemeanor possession charges for the now-legal substance. The move will help address racial disparities in the prosecution of such charges – according to the order, 46 percent of the cases affected by the order involved a Black person.
The court will send out a notice to each defendant’s last known address providing information about the motion and a deadline for the defendant to respond.
Although city officials can call for the vacation of misdemeanor charges, it will be up to the county and prosecuting attorney to review felony cases. Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg told Real Change that he intends to instruct his office to review felony cases.
Morris bows out
Daron Morris took to Twitter on Friday to announce that he was dropping out of the race for prosecuting attorney. Morris cited health concerns and asked for privacy for himself and his family.
“I truly believe we had a chance to win, and I am sorry that we are not able to continue on our path,” Morris said in a statement.
Morris was the first person to challenge Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg since Satterberg first won in 2007. A public defender of 20 years, Morris ran on a progressive platform. He sought to reduce the system’s reliance on cash bail and what he termed “coercive” plea deals; as many as 95 percent of cases in King County are resolved before going to trial.
In the announcement, Morris credited his campaign for advancing the local conversation around criminal justice reform in King County.
“We laid out specific policies for local reform. We heightened awareness about the central role our Prosecutor’s Office must play in effectuating change,” Morris said.
Police approve new contract
After years of negotiations, the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild approved a new six-year contract. The contract will now go to the City Council for approval.
Seattle police officers have gone without a contract for more than four years.
According to the Seattle Times, the new contract includes “significant wage increases” that will be part of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s 2019 budget proposal. In return, the officers agreed to changes that make it easier to fire officers for dishonesty and added civilians to the department’s internal investigation office.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
Check out the full Sept. 26 - Oct. 2 issue.
Real Change is a non-profit organization advocating for economic, social and racial justice. Since 1994 our award-winning weekly newspaper has provided an immediate employment opportunity for people who are homeless and low income. Learn more about Real Change.