Paula Wissel

Law & Justice Reporter

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.

Paula's most memorable moment at KNKX: “Interviewing NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr about his ability to put current events in historical context. It’s something I aspire to.”

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Despite the often heard phrase “see you in court,” more and more conflicts are actually being resolved through mediation, without going to trial. 

At the University of Washington School of Law, the 23rd annual Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference begins Thursday featuring more than 40 national experts in the field of dispute resolution.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle says it has a plan to reduce pedestrian traffic fatalities by half. It involves a minor tweak to the traffic lights

When you’re on foot in Seattle, it can be a little nerve wracking crossing the street at a traffic signal. Just as the walk sign comes on, the green light for cars goes on as well. If a car is turning, you just hope it sees you.

But Scott Kubly, Seattle Department of Transportation director, says, as part of the city’s pedestrian master plan, those walk lights are going to be reprogrammed so that the walk sign comes on first.

Josh Estey/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / HIV in Indonesia by DFAT IS LICENSED BY CC BY-NC 2.0

The most difficult part of recovery from addiction can be taking the first step to get help. For hundreds of heroin and prescription pain medication addicts, that first step is a walk through the door of a methadone clinic in the South Sound called Tacoma Treatment Solutions. Every day people arrive at the clinic as early as 5 a.m. to get their daily dose of methadone. 

Austin Jenkins

A hallmark of democracy is transparency, a way to see inside the government so we know what it’s up to. To that end, there’s the federal Freedom of Information Act. And in Washington state, we have something similar called the Public Records Act.

Paula Wissel / KNKX

In the late 1960s and early '70s, all sorts of underground newspapers had emerged from the counterculture and antiwar movements. Most of them weren’t actually all that underground, since there wasn’t much risk involved in publishing or distributing them.

But if you were in the military and you wanted to publish stories that strayed from the company line, you could get in serious trouble. That led in part to something called the GI underground movement.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

From travel bans to trade policy, President Donald Trump’s actions in his first weeks in office have raised questions about presidential powers. The University of Washington School of Law is trying to provide some answers through a class and a website.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Washington state's attorney general declared Monday that he was suing President Donald Trump over his temporary ban on immigration from seven countries with majority-Muslim populations, making it the first state to announce a legal action against the Trump administration over one of its policies.

Trump's executive order also suspended the United States' entire refugee program and set off nationwide protests over the weekend, including one that drew 3,000 people to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Chris O'Meara / AP Photo

The deadline to sign up for health care for this year under the Affordable Care Act is Tuesday, January 31. Even with the prospect of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, going away, Washington officials say there are good reasons to enroll through the state's Washington Healthplanfinder website.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo / file

If Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act without a comparable replacement, it could have a major impact on the immunization program for children in Washington state. The state depends on dollars from the ACA, also known as Obamacare, to pay for the procurement and distribution of children’s vaccines. Loss of funds could affect other public health programs as well, including the state’s program to test lead poisoning in children.

Paula Wissel / knkx

The inauguration of President Donald Trump brought protests and pride from across Washington today. In western Washington, we found a mix:

Protesting The New President

In Seattle, marchers left from Capitol Hill and the city's Central District, headed toward downtown's Westlake Park, where a large crowd rallied.

Christine Armario / AP Photo

How does a city make sure all performance spaces for musicians and artists are safe without quashing creativity? That's something Seattle is grappling with in light of the deadly fire in a warehouse in Oakland, California last month. The space was being used by a group of artists.

Wikimedia Commons

When someone is elderly and incapacitated, it often falls to a loved one to make health care or financial decisions for them. The next of kin, or other designated party, is able to do this because they’ve been given what’s called “power of attorney.”  But, sometimes a vulnerable adult can be taken advantage of. A new state law is meant to curb such abuse.

Paula Wissel / knkx

The Seattle Police Department is getting good marks in the latest assessment from a federal monitor. The department has been under a federal court order to reform since 2012, following findings of racially biased policing.

In the latest review of the Seattle Police Department, the tenth assessment done since oversight began, the federal overseer looked at the adequacy of supervision in the department.  One question to answer was if all officers have a clearly identified first-line supervisor each day — also, if police sergeants receive timely and adequate supervisory training.

Rogelio V. Solis / AP Photo

Can landlords prohibit firearms in their rental properties? It's an issue that has come up recently following the deadly shooting in Tacoma of a police officer. The owner of the home that the suspect, who was killed by police after a standoff, was renting said she was unaware that he had firearms.

Paula Wissel / knkx

On the day the Electoral College met and officially voted for Donald Trump, some members of Washington’s congressional delegation were vowing to oppose the President-elect Donald Trump once he’s in the White House.

Howard Chandler Christy / public domain

Today is the 225th anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights. To mark the occasion, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington is handing out Bill of Rights wallet cards. The ACLU will be passing out the cards from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle.


The 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor is a good time to remember the importance of the Puget Sound region to the war effort. In this radio story, which first aired on 88.5 in 2005, reporter Steve Krueger takes us to Bremerton, where the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard played a key role in rebuilding ships damaged at Pearl Harbor.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The King County Council has picked real estate developer and former lawmaker Dino Rossi to fill the senate seat in the 45th Legislative District.  The seat was left vacant after the death of Andy Hill. Hill, a Republican from Redmond, died of cancer on October 31.

Paula Wissel / knkx

In Bellingham, a giant work of art will link the city’s industrial past with the future of its waterfront, a place where pulp and paper mills once operated 24 hours a day. The artwork is referred to simply as "The Acid Ball."

Paula Wissel / knkx

An attack on a Muslim student on the University of Washington  campus two weeks ago has stirred fear in the community. Now, Muslim community leaders are calling on law enforcement and the university to do more.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A jury has found Aaron Ybarra guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of a Seattle Pacific University student and wounding of two other students during a shooting two and a half years ago on the campus. The incident, which took place in June of 2014 on the campus in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood,  shocked school and city leaders alike.  At the time, Mayor Ed Murray called an emergency meeting of the Seattle City Council to address what he called "the epidemic of violence in the city."

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has defeated Republican challenger Bill Bryant to win re-election.

Inslee was leading in early vote returns Tuesday. Inslee, a former long-time congressman, touted his environmental record throughout the campaign. He said the state is requiring the biggest polluters to reduce emissions and is promoting alternative energy.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Starting Wednesday, counties are mailing out ballots in Washington state. Registered voters can expect to receive theirs by the weekend. In King County, more of the ballots going out are in a language other than English.

Nam Y. Huh / AP Photo

E-cigarettes are unsafe and need more regulation; that’s the claim in lawsuits filed against  four vape shops in Washington state. But, one owner says his product is no more dangerous than any electronic device.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Ethiopian immigrants marched through downtown Seattle Tuesday afternoon to protest the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funding of projects in Ethiopia. Protesters say humanitarian aid going to Ethiopia is being used to support a brutal regime.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

For the first time in decades, all of the Washington Supreme Court Justices up for re-election are facing serious opposition. Much of it has to do with the court’s controversial rulings on charter schools and public school funding.

Paula Wissel / knkx File Photo

When you register to vote, you have to write down where you live. But what if you’re homeless? As it turns out, in Washington state that doesn’t disqualify you, but it can make voting more challenging.

Jeff Roberson / AP Photo

Keeping guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others is the goal of Washington Initiative 1491 on the ballot this election. But opponents worry it will further stigmatize mental illness.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Presidential election years often yield memorable political cartoons.  Every four years, University of Washington librarian Jessica Albano creates a display to highlight the work of editorial cartoonists.

The political cartoon exhibit, which is added to on a regular basis, will be up in the reading room on the ground floor of the UW Suzzallo Library through November. Knkx's Paula Wissel took a tour of the exhibit.

"Cool entrance to The Matador - Ballard" by brewbooks is licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

The Washington Department of Health is still investigating this month’s E. coli outbreak that forced a Seattle restaurant to close temporarily. The Matador in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood has now reopened, but the source of the E. coli that sickened several patrons remains a mystery. Meanwhile, food safety advocates say this latest scare underscores the need for a promised restaurant grading system to be implemented quickly by public health officials.