King County Council supports measure to deny bail to ‘third strike’ offenders

February 17, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 17, 2010

King County Council members offered support Tuesday to a measure designed to deny bail to felons arrested on a potential “third strike” offense — like the man who killed four Lakewood Police officers last November.

County Councilman Reagan Dunn — who represents unincorporated King County south of Issaquah, as well as Newcastle, Renton and Bellevue — sponsored the motion. The gesture offered support of a measure under consideration by state lawmakers.

“The King County Council today sent a message to Olympia — we don’t want to see any more cops killed,” Dunn said in a statement. “Criminals facing the possibility of life in prison are a flight risk and are dangerous to the community. They should stay incarcerated until the courts have a chance determine guilt or innocence.”

Since October, six law enforcement officers in the region have been shot and killed. Maurice Clemmons, the man who killed the Lakewood officers inside a Pierce County coffee shop, faced a life sentence under the state three-strikes law when the incident occurred.

The legislation under consideration in Olympia would amend the state Constitution to deny bail to felons arrested on a “third strike” crime. The measure cleared the state House in a resounding 80-17 vote, and the Senate adopted a similar bill last week.

Reps. Jay Rodne, Glenn Anderson, Judy Clibborn and Marcie Maxwell — whose districts include Issaquah — favored the bill.

The separate bills head to a conference committee, where lawmakers from both chambers will refine the legislation.

If the measure passes, the amendment heads to Washington voters in the November election.

“Amending the state constitution is a big step and should be reserved for only the most important issues,” Dunn said. “Protecting the public and those who protect us is the paramount duty of every government. This legislation is necessary and appropriate for the preservation of safety.”

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