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House members pan new bail try

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Feb. 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm with No Comments »
February 25, 2010 2:03 pm

House members aren’t satisfied with the overtures from senators to meet them halfway on bail.

Sen. Mike Carrell and Sen. Adam Kline announced their latest proposal today for a constitutional amendment to put before voters. It would allow judges to deny bail not just for frequent offenders, as the bill that passed the Senate would do, but also for people charged with crimes “involving the intentional death of another, the intentional infliction of great bodily harm on another” and certain sex offenses.

They listed the offenses for which suspects could be detained – from murder down to first-degree child molestation – and said they would have allowed judges to lock up at least 617 more people last year.

But they wouldn’t include all Class A felonies, like the version that passed the House. Crimes like vehicular homicide, arson, robbery and burglary would not be included in the version that will now be considered by Kline’s committee.

“We need to distinguish between those things that are harmful to individuals, and those things that are bad, very bad things, but not harmful to individuals,” Carrell said.

Kline said the constitutional amendment is drawn “not as narrowly as before, but still very very narrowly.” As for its chances, he said: “I believe this is closer to what the House wants. It’s not all there.”

Police groups support the House version and said this one does not go far enough.

Rep. Mike Hope complained that the language wouldn’t cover someone who intended, but failed, to kill. “When you look at the bomber in Detroit on Christmas Day, this version would not cover that person. If somebody went into a school with an AK-47 threatening and attempting to shoot children but is taken out by police or someone else prior to that, that would not cover that person.”

Hope and Rep. Christopher Hurst were highly critical of the proposal and how they said it was written without their input. Hurst said  Gov. Chris Gregoire, who has proposed even more sweeping language, may weigh in on the House’s side next week.

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