Law

Stories about law and politics in the Pacific Northwest, with many from KNKX's Law and Justice reporter, Paula Wissel.

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The Trump administration is updating its travel ban, just hours before it was set to expire. In a proclamation signed by President Trump on Sunday, the travel restrictions now include eight countries, a couple of which are not majority-Muslim, as had been the case with all the nations in the original ban.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Detainees doing work at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma are paid only $1 per day or sometimes only in snacks, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Washington state attorney general in Pierce County Superior Court.

It seems so simple. Equip police officers with body cameras to record their interactions with the public. But it turns out it’s actually quite complicated.

A legislative task force meets Tuesday in an ongoing effort to try to figure it out.

Teens who take an X-rated selfie and then text the image can be found guilty of trading in child pornography in some cases. That was the 6-3 ruling of the Washington Supreme Court on Thursday.

Vincent Milum Jr., Tacoma Fire Department / Flickr

Tacoma is suing Purdue Pharma and two other companies, Endo and Janssen, that make prescription opioids.

In its lawsuit, Tacoma says it’s had to bear the financial costs of the opioid crisis in many ways – in terms of fire and police response to overdoses as well as paying for the prescription drugs for employees who get health insurance from the city.

Several media outlets, including public radio, have filed an open records lawsuit against the Washington Legislature. The lawsuit filed Tuesday seeks access to lawmaker emails, text messages and calendars.

What was expected to be a two-day hearing on tribal sovereignty spilled into its third day Friday. The provincial government in British Columbia is appealing a landmark decision that reestablished hunting rights for members of an Indian tribe who live on both sides of the border.

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday evening that the Trump administration can't ban grandparents and other family members of citizens and legal residents from coming to the U.S. from six mainly Muslim countries.

The Justice Department downplayed the ruling, looking ahead to a higher-ranking court considering the case: "The Supreme Court has stepped in to correct these lower courts before, and we will now return to the Supreme Court to vindicate the Executive Branch's duty to protect the Nation."

Members of the Sinixt Indian tribe reside on the reservation of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville in Washington. Last spring, one of them won a landmark court case in Canada reestablishing their tribal rights there.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Two Seattle police officers recently filed a lawsuit against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant for defamation of character.

They say she defamed them when, shortly after it happened, she referred to the police killing of Che Taylor, an African American man, as a “brutal murder.” They point out they were eventually cleared of wrongdoing in the killing by an inquest jury. 

Human rights groups filed two federal lawsuits Monday against President Trump and other top members of his administration, alleging that a ban against transgender people serving in the military is unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs include both transgender people who are currently serving in the military and transgender people who wish to serve but are no longer able to because of the ban.

Two Washington state inmates at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center near Aberdeen have filed a civil rights complaint in federal court over prison shaving policies.

A Washington state high school football coach took advantage of his position when he prayed on the field after games, and he's not entitled to immediately get his job back, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.

Seth Perlman / AP Photo

Washington law prevents domestic violence abusers from possessing guns. But advocates for victims say the courts aren’t doing enough to enforce the law.

Passed by the Washington state legislature in 2014, the law requires people with protection orders against them because of domestic abuse to temporarily surrender their firearms to law enforcement. 

Los Angeles sued the Justice Department on Tuesday over the Trump administration's threat to cut millions in federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities, which limit their cooperation with federal authorities on immigration enforcement.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Tensions over high-profile police shooting deaths have led to ongoing conversations about bias, police culture and use of force.

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing back against the federal government.

On Monday, the city is filing suit against the Department of Justice, which announced it would withhold millions of dollars in police grant money from so-called sanctuary cities.

Emanuel is suing because he says new rules for a federal crime-fighting grant go against the Constitution and the city's values.

"Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate," Emanuel said.

Courtesy of King County

Updated at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1. Original story follows update.

The Burien City Council ended a meeting Monday night without taking a critical vote on the future of a local law aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants.

By failing to vote, City Council members missed an Aug. 1 deadline to put a repeal of the immigration law on the November ballot.

Kyle Fox / KNKX

Seattle area residents and family members of Tommy Le demanded answers from King County officials during a public forum about his fatal shooting by a deputy in June.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart, County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight Director Deborah Jacobs were among those who attended the forum Wednesday evening at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service in Seattle.

A Richland, Washington, flower shop owner who was on the losing end of a same-sex wedding discrimination case now wants to piggyback on an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court argument.

Updated at 10:30 p.m. ET

The Trump administration has filed a motion with the Supreme Court, asking for clarification of the justices' order upholding a version of the travel ban. The justices' order allowed the administration to restrict entry by people from six mostly Muslim countries, except for those who have what's judged to be a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States, including close family members.

Oregon lawmakers are advancing a measure that would make it a crime to attach a tracking device to another person's vehicle without their permission.

TUMWATER, Wash. (AP) — A Washington man who was sentenced to 76 years in prison after being convicted of 137 charges will be getting a new trial.

The Olympian reports reports 38-year-old Kenneth A. Linville Jr. was convicted in 2015 on several crimes, including leading organized crime, residential burglary, theft and trafficking stolen property, but an appeals court overturned all convictions.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that taxpayer-funded grants for playgrounds available to nonprofits under a state program could not be denied to a school run by a church.

"The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

The Supreme Court says it will decide the fate of President Trump's revised travel ban, agreeing to hear arguments over immigration cases that were filed in federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland and allowing parts of the ban that has been on hold since March to take effect.

The justices removed the two lower courts' injunctions against the ban "with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," narrowing the scope of those injunctions that had put the ban in limbo.

Courtesy Columbia Legal Services

Getting out of prison or jail might sound like an event to celebrate.

But it can actually be one of the most challenging times for people attempting to re-enter normal life. That’s why a local non-profit invited members of the public to an event this week at the Seattle Public Library, for what they call a “re-entry simulation.”

Members of the Asian-American rock band The Slants have the right to call themselves by a disparaging name, the Supreme Court says, in a ruling that could have broad impact on how the First Amendment is applied in other trademark cases.

The Slants' frontman, Simon Tam, filed a lawsuit after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office kept the band from registering its name and rejected its appeal, citing the Lanham Act, which prohibits any trademark that could "disparage ... or bring ... into contemp[t] or disrepute" any "persons, living or dead," as the court states.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

President Trump's administration filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday night seeking to reverse rulings by lower courts in Hawaii and Maryland that blocked a temporary ban on travel to the United States from six majority-Muslim countries.

The Trump administration says the Constitution gives the president "broad authority to prevent aliens abroad from entering this country when he deems it in the nation's interest."

Civil rights advocates and Democrats are celebrating after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Republican-controlled North Carolina Legislature had drawn two congressional districts that amount to unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. Election experts say the decision is likely to boost the prospects for success in similar challenges across the South.

Updated at 3:25 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that struck down two North Carolina congressional districts, saying the state relied too heavily on race in drawing them.

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