Category Archives: legal

Read the DRB Arbitrator’s ruling on Officer Shepherd

Last night the city filed a response to Judge Robart as to why he shouldn’t find that SPD is no longer in full compliance with the consent decree. Attached to that filing, at the judge’s request, was the written finding of the Disciplinary Review Board (DRB) in Officer Adley Shepherd’s appeal of his termination for violating the department’s use-of-force policy in 2014 when he punched a handcuffed suspect.

The DRB’s finding, written by the neutral arbitrator on the 3-person panel, fills out more details on the case, ultimately concluding that the case was very close.

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Catching up on the backyard cottages legislation

Back in October, the city issued its final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on proposed legislation loosening rules on building “backyard cottages” in single-family zones in Seattle, as well as a Racial Equity Toolkit evaluation of the impact of the legislation on racial disparities in the city.  To no one’s surprise, an appeal has been filed against the FEIS — but the city is fighting back.

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Robart approves briefing schedule change, but asks for more details

This morning Judge James Robart, who presides over the city’s consent decree with the DOJ over biased policing, issued an order granting the DOJ more time to file its brief. But he also ordered the city to hand over several additional documents that dive into the details of the SPD disciplinary/appeals process and the recently-signed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the police officers’ union.

Continue reading Robart approves briefing schedule change, but asks for more details

DOJ asks Robart to amend briefing schedule

In the aftermath of Judge James Robart’s bombshell order earlier this week asking the City of Seattle and the DOJ to explain why he shouldn’t find that the city has fallen out of compliance with the Consent Decree, today both parties jointly asked Robart to amend his order and allow more time for briefings to be filed. the DOJ asked Robart, with the city’s assent, to allow more time for it to file its briefing.

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State Supreme Court rules that Initiative 27 can’t go on the ballot

Today the Washington State Supreme Court handed down a ruling on a legal challenge to King County Initiative 27, which would have prohibited county funding for supervised consumption sites and enacted civil penalties for violating that prohibition or for operating a supervised consumption site.  The court found that the content of I-27 was outside the scope of local initiative power.

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Local reporters and editors request City Auditor to investigate city officials’ use of private email accounts

Today, several local reporters and editors, including myself, sent a joint letter to the City Auditor requesting an investigation into city officials’ practices of using private email accounts and other private electronic media to conduct city business. Below is the letter we sent, along with the attachments demonstrating the extent of the issue.

The City Auditor reports to the City Council, an arrangement that usually is well-suited to the Council’s oversight responsibilities over the executive branch. In this case, however, the issue implicates several (if not all) City Council members and their staff, as well as the Mayor’s office. Since there is a pending lawsuit that addresses the issue of city officials conducting business through private channels, it is unlikely that the Council or the Mayor will weigh in on the issue or request the Auditor to spend time investigating this. However, the Auditor’s Office is empowered to conduct its own self-directed investigations, so it can decide to do this on its own.

I’m going to make an unusual request here: if you believe this is an important issue, please send an email to City Auditor David Jones, davidg.jones@seattle.gov, asking him to conduct an investigation.

Continue reading Local reporters and editors request City Auditor to investigate city officials’ use of private email accounts