Update: No additional jail time for teens in officer-attack case

gavel.jpgORIGINAL 1:57 PM REPORT: We’re at the King County Courthouse, in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Chris Washington, who is scheduled shortly to sentence the three teenagers found guilty in connection with last year’s High Point attack that seriously injured Southwest Precinct Officer Jason McKissack one year ago (here’s the report on the verdict a month ago; here’s one of our reports from last year). A 17-year-old boy was found guilty of assault; a 17-year-old boy and 18-year-old girl were found guilty of obstruction of a law-enforcement officer. Five police officers are here in the courtroom so far to observe, in uniform; your editor here is one of two reporters present so far. We’ll publish the sentences (and any other information from this hearing) as soon as they are announced.

2:08 PM UPDATE: Officer McKissack, who is still on leave, is here as well – almost one year exactly after the attack (6/17/08). The three defendants have all arrived — all three in blue jeans, the two boys in white T-shirts, the girl in a gray sweatshirt – with six lawyers at the table with them (some of whom would be prosecutors, of course).

2:45 PM UPDATE: The first two sentences have been announced: For the girl, no detention; 75 hours of community service; 1 year of probation. She spoke briefly to the court, saying she didn’t believe she deserved detention time – but no words of apology. For the older boy (guilty of obstruction), no additional detention (he had already served 59 days, according to his lawyer), 150 hours of community service, 12 months of probation. He told the judge he knew what happened was wrong and what happened to the officer was wrong, but he wanted to say that he was not an evil person. Meantime, the officer’s wife and another relative have both addressed the court, with emotion in one case, emotion and fury in another.

3:29 PM UPDATE: The 17-year-old boy found guilty of third-degree assault has just been sentenced: No additional jail time (he apparently served 30 days electronic monitoring), 1 year probation, 150 hours of community service. This after a lengthy legal argument over the state’s request for an exceptional sentence. There is one more step in this case – a restitution hearing requested by prosecutors.

3:44 PM UPDATE: After a little more than an hour and a half, the hearing just concluded, as lawyers wrapped up paperwork and details. All three of the teenagers addressed the court, though none expressed remorse for what happened. Officer McKissack did not testify; in addition to his wife and another relative who spoke, one of the uniformed officers who were in attendance rose to address the judge before the sentencing ended. Here is our transcription of most of what he said:

We’re sending the wrong message – people have to be held accountable for their actions … I’ve been on the streets for 13 years … We’re getting into more fights, we’re getting assaulted more. At our precinct alone, we’ve had suspects bite officers twice in the past month, and I believe one was a juvenile. … We’re sending the wrong message. People have to understand – now, if you just hit, kick spit on officers, you’re not going to get any significant time … We’re not out there to be punching bags … (But people are) very comfortable, as if they know that minor assault on officers is not going to be held acountable. An assault on an officer is an assault on society. (But) an officer should not have to be stabbed, or have bones broken, for someone to be held accountable … This makes it hard for us out there. For those who [unlike testimony indicated, regarding these three] may truly be bad kids, the word is going to get out … and we have to go out and deal with them

A few more details to come, including the legal sparring between the prosecution and the defense – and ultimately, the judge sided with the defense, suggesting that if it wanted the case sentenced like second-degree assault, why wasn’t it charged as second-degree assault? – and what the officer’s family members told the judge … and the defendants. (By the way, the only other journalist in court with us was from the Seattle Times, and she may have some additional reaction, as she followed the police contingent out of the courtroom while the proceedings were down to the final details, which we stayed for – we’ll add the link to their story when we see it.) ADDED 10:48 PM: More details from the hearing — read on:

Early in this afternoon’s hearing, the prosecutor announced the state was seeking “manifest injustice” for the 17-year-old boy convicted of third-degree assault, in order to ask for a sentence of at least 30 weeks of detention. This was explained a bit later. But first:

-A woman who described herself as a “mentor” of the 17-year-old girl (convicted of obstruction of a law enforcement officer) said she had known her for 10 years and described her as a “bright, high-achieving young woman” trying to get into community college, “sometimes a little rambunctious … Most people make mistakes. This might be larger than others, but from here, she can move on.”

Her lawyer called the case “an absolute isolated incident” and said the girl had never before been in the criminal justice system. She then spoke briefly on her own behalf, saying she didn’t think she should be given a detention sentence, adding that she had done volunteer work at The Mount, Southwest Community Center and Delridge Community Center, more than 200 hours beyond the 60 required for her to have received her high-school diploma.

After she spoke, Judge Washington started to pronounce his sentence, saying that he was not going to give her detention time, but “what I’m trying to find (for community service) is something that will be a constant reminder to you of what happened.” At that point, the prosecutor said he would like to have the judge hear from Officer McKissack’s wife before any sentencings were announced, and the judge granted that request.

She addressed both the judge and the defendants – here is our transcription (not word for word, but the best we could do at the time):

(Addressing the older boy) This started because of your stupid behavior … the officer responded out of care. He believed you were in peril and going to die. Because of him, you’re alive. (Addressing the girl), this continued because of you. You put your hands on (the officer) … nothing in the situation indicated assaulting a police officer was the right thing to do. You could have called 911. (Addressing the boy convicted of assault), this continued because of you. From the onset, there was nothing but harm in your heart … The three of you have shown you have no desire to be contributing members of society … This was a seasoned officer, a 9-year veteran, in peak physical condition, well respected … You have cost King County taxpayers at least 50 thousand dollars, as well as lost wages for us .. You compromised the safety of citizens in the neighborhood, your own family and friends … You each chose to independently attack a uniformed police officer. You each chose to continue to attack him. The irrevocable damage he has suffered this past year … Have you ever given your life to something? … What would it be worth to you? … If you each were punished (equal to) the time he has suffered, I’d suggest one year in jail for each of you. And working one year with people with head trauma, so you have an idea of the damage you have caused … It’s time to be responsible and accountable for your actions. I appreciate those who have enlisted their lives (to protect) … The Bible says, ‘blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the Sons of God.’ You’re alive today because of the quick response of my husband.”

What was described as a letter from the couple’s daughter also was submitted, but not read aloud.

The judge resumed the sentence he had begun to announce, including probation for a year “but not interfering with college,” and 75 hours of community service. He indicated he thought that was more punishment than detention would have been, saying being locked up was “mostly boring and I don’t think it’s all that much punishment …”

Next, on to the 18-year-old who’d been found guilty of obstruction of justice. His lawyer said he’d had a rough life – his mother and grandparents died at a young age, his aunt had cared for him – and noted he’s about to start summer school, and has a summer job with a government agency, doing computer projects. (It was also mentioned here that he had no criminal history – but barely an hour later, it was revealed he’d been arrested for alleged residential burglary a month before trial.)

What he then said to the judge: “I feel like I realize what happened … I am responsible for all my actions. People try to judge me, but nobody here knows me, knows what I’ve been through. I know what I did was wrong, and what happened to the officer was wrong, but nobody should make me look like an evil person. It was a mistake. Only God can judge you.”

“I serve as a weak imitation of God, but I have to judge you,” the judge observed, before turning over the floor to the prosecution.

“We didn’t say he was an evil person – but what happened June 17, 2008, involved evil, egregious, outrageous acts … that were (his) doing, because of out-of-control behavior that led to that sequence of acts.” The prosecutor said the 18-year-old was intoxicated and should get drug/alcohol evaluation.

At that point, the prosecution asked that another relative of Officer McKissack be allowed to speak. She started to face the defendants, and the judge suggested she address him instead, at which point she said, “I want to burn their faces in my mind,” continuing:

I was so angry at these kids … Why are we treating them as if this is minor? They have changed a family, and a man who was a good man, who was trying to help … This isn’t just ‘not doing the dishes’ … this is criminal … this was attempted murder, that these kids tried to kill my nephew-in-law. I am livid they are getting slapped on the hand. They could have killed him. It’s just by the grace of God they didn’t.

As she started to walk back to the spectator area, she looked at them and muttered loudly, “Hope you burn in hell,” which the judge scolded her for: “That’s inappropriate.”

She replied, “I’m sorry, sir,” and sat down.

The judge then addressed the 18-year-old defendant, saying he didn’t think his actions were intentional, “but the biggest problem is that you weren’t thinking … friends were trying to get you to stop and you went about what you did. I don’t think you made conscious decisions. … I read (that) your life has had challenges, you were born into a family that wasn’t there for you, but you’re old enough to figure out that’s just the way things are. No amount of self-pity is going to change that. Seems to me you have the brains and personality to be productive.”

That defendant got 150 hours of community service, 12 months of probation, alcohol evaluation, with the judge chiding, “Alcohol is a poison.” He was sentenced to 30 days in detention, but he’d previously served more than that, so that meant no additional time in lockup.

Finally came the legal argument over the sentencing of the final defendant, the 17-year-old who kicked Officer McKissack in the head – more than once – and was found guilty of third-degree assault.

Describing the standard sentencing range as “woefully inadequate,” the prosecutor explained that the state was seeking “manifest injustice,” akin to an exceptional sentence in adult court. This was warranted, he said, by the attempt to inflict serious bodily injury, among other things.

At this point, the judge asked why the state hadn’t sought second-degree assault charges, since that was the sort of sentence they were seeking against this defendant. He also took issue with “manifest injustice” being recommended “so late in the process … it seems that only after being successful in the case did the state ramp up, vs. having the gumption to charge Assault 2.”

In response, the prosecutor used a phrase he used several times afterward – saying the state hadn’t wanted to seek that charge because of “doors the defense wanted to open” that the state didn’t want to see opened. (This was never elaborated on.)

The judge declared it put him in a “difficult situation.” The prosecutor insisted they’d given enough notice of their intent to seek this, something the defense lawyer took vigorous exception to. The prosecutor reiterated that with a kick in the face, “it was pretty clear the respondent’s intent was to do some damage … in this case he caused significant damage to Officer McKissack’s brain.” He also argued the officer was “vulnerable at the time of the assault” – saying that was clear because he’d been unable to block the kicks to his head, “being attacked by what was essentially a mob.”

A woman whom we believe identified herself as the defendant’s mother (she spoke softly, facing the judge 15 or so feet away, and it was hard to hear) spoke briefly then, saying they were “churchgoing people.”

Then his lawyer took over and vigorously attacked the prosecution argument, saying they didn’t know before the trial that sentencing recommendations would be based on alleged infliction of bodily injury, alleging his side was “kept intentionally in the dark by the state,” accusing prosecutors of “seeking tactical advantage” with that action.

To the judge, he said, “They’re here bemoaning the fact they didn’t charge Assault 2 because they didn’t think they could prove it, but they ask you to impose sentencing commensurate to a case they chose not to prove.” He also noted his client was “peaceful” at the start of the incident, trying to restrain the older boy. He said his client had “almost a complete absence of criminal history,” aside from a “diversion” more than 3 years ago.

The boy spoke fleetingly, saying only, “I am a good kid … whatever happened to the officer and his family, I mean no harm.”

Reiterating his case, the prosecutor noted again, “this was all the more egregious because it was done to a uniformed police officer.” When the judge once more questioned why the state hadn’t pursued a more serious charge, the prosecutor replied, “The state has some regrets, but this is what we’re left with.”

Eventually, after saying again that it was a “difficult decision,” Judge Washington announced he would stay within the standard sentencing range, especially considering prosecutors did not seek the tougher charge. Addressing the third and final defendant, he said, “You made a very bad decision,” and then the judge observed, “We did see a brutal truth (in trial testimony) … law enforcement is viewed by different members of the public in a different manner. … Everyone was watching the same event but it was as if they were watching two different scenarios.”

And his sentence for the third suspect: 1 year probation, 150 hours of community service, 30 days of incarceration (which had already been served). Plus, an anger-management class: “You DID overreact,” he chided the defendant.

A date is to be set next for a restitution hearing.

41 Replies to "Update: No additional jail time for teens in officer-attack case"

  • unsettling June 19, 2009 (3:57 pm)

    Fantastic reporting WSB. This is very upsetting to be sure. If the tables were turned and an officer beat a suspect and two other officer’s watched they would be implicated as well. I am not surprised that two of these anger-filled youths were not sorry for what they did because why would they have to? I don’t agree that 30 days of electronic monitoring was appropriate to begin with – so they can watch TV, hange with friends, listen to music, drink etc. while officer McKissack was so injured physically, mentally and emotionally that he couldn’t even return to work for over a year? And they don’t feel the need to say they are not sorry in court when they are about to be sentenced?

    There is a problem here. With our courts, with our society, with our legal system. And since now they have not nor never will learn their lesson they will likely take that rage and spew it somewhere else in the community. God help us.

  • WSM June 19, 2009 (3:59 pm)

    It’s only a matter of time till these teens end up in state prison, or the city morgue. The fact that they offered no remorse in court is an indication that they have no regard for other people: it’s pure selfishness. The court system is only emboldening these teens by not adequately punishing them. I bet they are all having a good laugh right now. We’ll be reading about these folks sooner or later. Sigh.

  • shane June 19, 2009 (4:04 pm)

    And we wonder why West Seattle seems to be turning into “thug paradise”

  • I had heard June 19, 2009 (4:04 pm)

    It is silly. A 17 year old attacks a police officer and he’s “just a child” and we must feel sorry for him and how his trashy scumbag parents raised him…4 months later at 18 he’s an evil criminal adult and eligible for 3 strikes your out life in prison. That’s a big 4 months.

  • Lachlan June 19, 2009 (4:05 pm)

    Since justice was not delivered here, I can only hope that karma comes back to bite the three of them HARD. It’s especially galling that they shows no remorse.

  • Sasquatch June 19, 2009 (4:05 pm)

    I used to work with disturbed kids in Seattle some of whom were teens. There is a lot of grandstanding amongst teens who feel as though they have nothing to lose. I wish they at least had their freedom to lose. This case sends the message that assault is no big deal.

  • KT June 19, 2009 (4:21 pm)

    I guarantee one of them commits a crime tonight in West Seattle. My question is…was this a plea agreement or were they found guilty after trial. If it was a plea agreement then we need a new King County Prosecutor.

  • WSB June 19, 2009 (4:26 pm)

    KT, note the inline link above to the report we posted after the verdict (which relies heavily on a Seattle Times link, we’ll acknowledge, as we were not able to staff the trial, but we were glad to get a tip that helped ensure we could cover the sentencing in person today) – they went through a trial more than a month ago … TR

  • bridge to somewhere June 19, 2009 (4:43 pm)

    the officer couldn’t have said it better in his address — an assault on an officer is an assault on society. thanks a lot awesome court system — marvelous work, job well done.
    all sarcasm aside, my gratitude for the officers who have to deal with this day-in, day-out.

  • ScubaO2 June 19, 2009 (4:48 pm)

    What else would expect from priviledged white teens who have good lawyers? I’m white by the way, I’m not “pulling the race card”. If these kids were minorities they’d be doing state time in the penetentiary (if you’re not aware, there’s a HUGE discrepancy between the sentencing of white offenders versus minority offenders, ie an enormous racial and financial bias in our “justice system”). How sad, if you can afford a top-notch attorney vs. those who can’t and end up with publice “defenders”, they’re chances at escaping justice altogether are increased 100-fold.

  • WSB June 19, 2009 (4:59 pm)

    I wasn’t mentioning race because it’s not relevant to the case. But we do speak up if we detect factual errors in comments. Having been feet away from all three in court this afternoon, I can tell you none of them is white – TR

  • Roadsterboy June 19, 2009 (5:28 pm)

    I’m glad to see so many people are as shocked by the sentences as I am. I used to feel safe living in West Seattle, but now I no longer go out walking after dark and I worry that even home security systems aren’t deterring the thieves anymore. When even our police officers aren’t safe, how can the rest of us feel protected by them? This was a slap in the face to Officer McKissack and the department. We (society) owe this officer and his department more respect and more support than what the court gave them today. I’m ashamed.

  • CandrewB June 19, 2009 (5:31 pm)

    If they were priviledged teens, the officer could sue the parents homeless.

  • patrick June 19, 2009 (6:17 pm)

    Is there photos of these 3?

  • High Point June 19, 2009 (6:23 pm)

    Sad. Prosecutors did the best they could with evidence, witnesses willing to testify. The judge was the final say in their punishment, and I think he failed all of us.

  • WSB June 19, 2009 (7:12 pm)

    They were tried as juveniles so no photos.

  • JimmyG June 19, 2009 (7:13 pm)

    Remember the name of the judge in this–Chris Washington. And remember to vote against him when he is up for re-election.

    Don’t we all feel safer now that the judge has “sentenced” these three criminals? And none of the 3 expressed remorse?

    Vote for Chris Washingtons opponent, who ever that may be.

  • MargL June 19, 2009 (7:26 pm)

    What’s the max sentence for what they were charged with? How is it determined what they are going to be charged with – who sets that? Did the judge give them the low end of the sentence?

  • JimmyG June 19, 2009 (7:29 pm)

    The one boy was charged Assault 3, a felony and the other two with obstruction, a misdemeanor.

  • JimmyG June 19, 2009 (7:30 pm)

    Oh, and prosecutors choose the charges.
    They were asking for around 30 weeks for the felony assault.

  • SA June 19, 2009 (7:31 pm)

    This news is extremely disappointing. I live a block away from where this incident happened. Didn’t see it, but a neighbor that I trust did see a portion of this altercation and was incredibly shaken by it. What that neighbor reported was someone STOMPING on the officer’s head, and multiple teenagers attacking him in concert. I can’t fathom why that would ever be warranted or excused, and I am one who often is accused of giving people too much the benefit of doubt.

    This neighbor did come forward and was available to testify, but couldn’t clearly identify the teens. I can only guess that this may have been why they weren’t asked to testify on behalf of the officer.

    My neighborhood is full of many lovely people, but it doesn’t take many bad apples to create rot. From what I heard, only 1 of these teens lives locally.

    Thanks so much to WSB for keeping on top of this story. Once again you are filling a much needed void!

  • WSB June 19, 2009 (7:39 pm)

    To clarify, however, as I haven’t had time yet to fill in more details here.

    The prosecutor – who admitted some regret in retrospect – sought third-degree assault charges. One month in jail is the maximum in the STANDARD RANGE for a conviction on that.
    What the prosecutor had asked for, and what he and the defense attorney sparred on, was the equivalent of what they would call an “exceptional sentence” in an adult case. I realize I wrote about that in the Twitter updates but not in the story above so will get on that case shortly. The defense attorney suggested that it was not appropriate to seek a lesser charge but then suddenly an extra sentence – why didn’t they seek a more serious charge in the first place?
    The prosecutor kept saying that seeking second-degree assault conviction would have “opened the doors” to something they didn’t want to “open the doors” to and to be honest, I’m not sure exactly what that was a reference to.
    It was clear, even without having covered the trial, that the defense continues to contend that the officer was attacked because the teenagers thought he was harming or going to harm them. The judge did say, however, that he did not believe the officer did anything improper.
    The bit about the older boy having been arrested for burglary a week before the trial came up in the waning moments as they were all arguing over no-contact orders, with the prosecutor saying ‘it’s clear that when they get together, nothing good happens.’

  • Jeanette June 19, 2009 (7:53 pm)

    Awful. Just awful.

  • ScubaO2 June 19, 2009 (8:00 pm)

    I respectfully disagree with you WSB, when you say “I wasn’t mentioning race because it’s not relevant to the case.” Race is relevant to every case in our justice system. Perhaps the DA’s starting to give lighter sentences to minorities in order to bring the statistics of sentencing of whites/minorities closer? There’s still such a wide divide racially and financially regarding the bias in the system across our good nation.

  • Carole June 19, 2009 (8:29 pm)

    The judge is bound by the sentencing guidelines, and also limited by what the prosecutor charges. If you don’t like the standard ranges in the sentencing guidelines contact your state legislators. If this was a trial, if the state wanted an exceptional sentence upward they would need a second penalty phase for the jury to find on the aggravating factors. This is due to a US Supreme Court case from several years back, known at the Blakeley case. Or as the judge said, they could have charged higher.

  • homesweethome June 19, 2009 (8:54 pm)

    I think perhaps all the adults here need a refresher in how our criminal justice system works. And Scuba02 and others that degrade the work of public defenders – these folks are public servants just like prosecutors and officers – went to the same law schools, have the same honors on their cv’s. To assume that those that pay for attorneys get better lawyering is misguided to say the least. DA’s do not give sentences btw.

  • KT June 19, 2009 (9:46 pm)

    “To say that those that pay for attorneys get better lawyering is misguided to say the least”. To say that is flat not right. Being retired from 30 years in the criminal justice field I can swear from first hand experience … you get what you pay for in many, not all, instances. Which is not to say it is because one lawyer is necessarily inferior to the other but experience, resources, case load, etc… play a part too.

  • Z June 19, 2009 (10:03 pm)

    Though this sentence was disappointing I can’t say it was unexpected. There is absolutely no accountability in our juvenile court system, which apparently translates well to the superior courts. The horrible thing is the message that these young (though not really) adults have received. It will not be surprising if years from now one of these criminals commits a similarly horrible act on a civilian. For those you have met Ofc. McKissack you know that he is a very large and strong officer. The kick he received easily could have killed a normal person.

    Regarding the Blakeley ruling, as the criminals were tried as juveniles it did not pertain in this case. If the judge chose to he could have allowed for the extended sentencing. Unfortunately this judge believed that juvenile detention and home detention were merely “boring” (his words).

    For those who have an issue with this ruling the judge was Judge Chris Washington. He can be reached at washington.court@kingcounty.gov or 206-296-9111 (all obtained from the K.C. Superior Court web page). Remember, these are elected officials. I won’t forget his name when he’s up for re-election.

  • wssince1966 June 19, 2009 (10:04 pm)

    The prosecutors spent a year in preparation for this trial. I would guess that if they went for assault 2, they would have to prove injuries that rose to that level.
    There is no doubt in my mind that the prosecutors did all that they could given the environment, and fought a very good fight to try to advocate for the officer. The rules of engagement are set against meaningful sentencing when juveniles do anything but kill, and even then they get much lighter consequenes.
    If you accept that one can attack an officer without meaningful consequences, then surely you are ok with the same if a citizen is attacked. Is our community innoculated from the threat of brutality?
    If not, call the judge and hold him accountable, praise the prosecutors for trying their best, and change the laws so that our community can live in peace.

  • 007 June 19, 2009 (10:04 pm)

    Star Chamber

  • WSB June 19, 2009 (10:07 pm)

    He did say “boring.” I am writing up a long addition from the remainder of my notes and that will be part of it – typing as fast as I can. Aiming to be done around 10:30 so check back at the end of the main body of the original story for a link to jump to that addendum. (10:50 pm – done)

  • Yardwork June 20, 2009 (8:21 am)

    Carole…I’m no lawyer, but the talk in the courtroom was that Blakely had been ruled multiple times NOT to apply to juveniles.

    Now the officer must fight to keep his job with the city because they are trying to push him off of L&I to save money.

    He has a traumatic brain injury, the same injury our soldiers are getting when an IED goes off next to their vehicle, and the doctors say it takes at least a year to recover.

    It’s been 1 year and the city can’t wait any longer….gotta save some money and flush him away like trash.

    No person above the rank of patrol officer was present.

  • bridge to somewhere June 20, 2009 (12:27 pm)

    hey carole, you’re a little off if you are inferring that the judge had really nothing to do with the sentencing. In the Seattle Times they mentioned today, “A spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said the sentences were disappointing. ‘It was a very serious assault on the officer, but ultimately, it was the judge’s decision,’ said Dan Donohoe.”
    so, apparently the KCPA thought the judge had something to do with the terrible sentences. i am definitely going to remember this at election time.

  • Koni June 20, 2009 (1:48 pm)

    Unfortunately the girl in this case is a close neighbor to my home. She was always rude and disrespectful before, sounds like this ruling will only reinforce her incredibly bad and selfish attitude. Did the Seattle Housing Authority ever follow through on it’s rules about evicting people charged with criminal activities as it applied in this case? She and her family should have been booted out of Highpoint.

  • Kayzel June 20, 2009 (5:43 pm)

    Thank you for your excellent and thorough reporting on this case. The assault happened a few blocks from my house and we were all shaken deeply when it happened.
    I am disturbed to read that the judge feels detention is “boring” and community service is “punishment enough.” I always wonder how community service is fulfilled in cases like this, if it has value for the agency or cause being served, or if it is educational or redemptive on any level for the person fulfilling it. In this case, working with people with head trauma sounds like a really good idea, for starters.

  • coffee June 23, 2009 (9:24 am)

    I just saw that the 2 males have been charged with another crime. Interesting……

  • WSB June 23, 2009 (9:26 am)

    I have just posted about that but it’s the same case I mentioned in this story. (Didn’t happen in West Seattle, either.) And the second one has not been charged, according to the Times report.

  • KateMcA June 23, 2009 (9:39 am)

    I think I’m even more disgusted now that I’ve read the play-by-play that occurred in the courtroom. Apparently these little thugs had some wonderful defense attorneys to be able to brain damage a police officer and get such a pitiful, inadequate sentence. God forbid we harm the “kids'” future by punishing them for their actions– as if it’s a problem that society would cause for them rather than the other way around. No, they chose these actions, and that should mean that they chose consequences.

  • bridge to somewhere June 24, 2009 (2:11 pm)

    i have a close friend who works in the court system, and from what i hear, there are several judges who are completely out-of-touch with how any rational person would respond to a criminal and/or a reasonable case presented by the prosecutor’s office. it is through WSB’s marvelous reporting that we got insight into this one case and this one judge, but from what i understand, there’s a lot of this happening in washington’s courthouses and furthered by sentencing guidelines (set by legislature) that are ridiculously lax.

  • Michael June 24, 2009 (8:46 pm)

    ScubaO2: if you were paying attention and actually read the details, you never would have made that remark.
    Sentencing was at the maximum for the charges. Prosecution wanted to win more than they wanted to see punishment – they knew that these sentences were probable.
    Neither the judge nor any “accountability issues” (unless it’s accountability of the prosecutors) nor lax sentencing guidelines were to blame.
    Geez, reading is fundamental, people!

  • WSB June 24, 2009 (8:50 pm)

    The maximum ****standard range****. NOT the maximum POSSIBLE. Important distinction. The judge did have the discretion to impose something more – TR

Sorry, comment time is over.