King County launches treatment court for veterans

June 26, 2012

King County officials celebrated the launch of Veterans Treatment Court on June 14, a milestone in the effort to direct veterans into treatment and services, rather than incarceration.

The combination of mental health issues, alongside post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries, can lead veterans into the criminal justice system. Officials said the Veterans Treatment Court offers a better route for nonviolent offenders.

The program, a part of Mental Health Court, is rooted in legislation adopted by the King County Council last year. Officials gathered at the King County Courthouse to launch the program.

The program is to receive future funding by the Veterans and Human Services Levy. King County voters renewed the property tax levy package in 2011 with almost 70 percent approval. Read more

Man facing heroin homicide charge to appear in court

June 26, 2012

Adam F. Pepka, a man accused of selling a fatal dose of heroin to a 19-year-old Issaquah High School graduate, is due in King County Superior Court for a hearing June 27.

No trial date has been set in the case.

Prosecutors said Pepka sold the heroin Zachary Lyter injected May 3, 2011. Investigators said Lyter later died from a heroin overdose. Lyter’s father discovered the former Issaquah High football player dead at the Bellevue home they shared the next day.

The suspected dealer faces a charge for controlled substances homicide, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. Under state law, a controlled substances homicide is treated similar to manslaughter.

In order to convict Pepka, prosecutors must prove he sold the fatal dose of heroin to Lyter. Investigators said Pepka continued to sell heroin after learning about Lyter’s death from a 17-year-old girl.

Pepka pleaded not guilty to the charge in August.

Elder Abuse Awareness Day includes safety message

June 19, 2012

King County Council members declared June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day to reflect concerns about the safety of vulnerable adults.

The proclamation encourages citizens to commit to building safer lives and safer community for elderly residents.

The council also highlighted the public and private agencies in the fight against elder abuse, including the King County Prosecutor’s Office and the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“As difficult as it is to believe, many cases of elder abuse involve their own family members,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee chairwoman and the Issaquah representative, said in a statement.

King County prosecutors handle about 350 cases a year involving elder neglect, abuse or financial exploitation. The office includes a specially trained unit to investigate and prosecute elder abuse cases.

Communities around the globe celebrate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day every June 15.

King County launches Veterans Treatment Court

June 15, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 15, 2012

King County officials celebrated the launch of Veterans Treatment Court on Thursday, a milestone in the effort to direct veterans into treatment and services, rather than incarceration.

The combination of mental health issues, alongside post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries, can lead veterans into the criminal justice system. Officials said the Veterans Treatment Court offers a better route for nonviolent offenders.

The program, a part of Mental Health Court, is rooted in legislation adopted by the King County Council last year. Officials gathered at the King County Courthouse to launch the program.

The program is to receive future funding by the Veterans and Human Services Levy. King County voters renewed the property tax levy package in 2011 with almost 70 percent approval.

Read more

King County Council proclaims Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 12, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 12, 2012

King County Council members declared Friday as Elder Abuse Awareness Day to reflect concerns about the safety of vulnerable adults.

The proclamation encourages citizens to commit to building safer lives and safer community for elderly residents.

The council also highlighted the public and private agencies in the fight against elder abuse, including the King County Prosecutor’s Office and the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“As difficult as it is to believe, many cases of elder abuse involve their own family members,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee chairwoman and the Issaquah representative, said in a statement. “Some older women who are victimized by partners or children are afraid to report it because of concerns about financial security. They need to know that help is available from our Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and victim advocates.”

Read more

Shelters join forces to find homes for Chihuahuas seized in Issaquah

June 8, 2012

NEW — 12:25 p.m. June 8, 2012

Regional Animal Services of King County and the Seattle Animal Shelter need to find homes for Chihuahuas seized from a filthy home in Issaquah last year, officials at the organizations announced Friday.

The county animal control agency and foster families started caring for the dogs in October, after King County Sheriff’s Office investigators raided a home in the 5900 block of 189th Avenue Southeast on Cougar Mountain, about a mile south of Cougar Mountain Zoo.

“We’re happy that these dogs have a second chance at a good life,” Glynis Frederiksen, Regional Animal Services of King County operations manager, said in a statement. “Thanks to our hard-working staff and wonderful foster families, we’ve been able to nurse them back to health. The previous owner has agreed to release them so that we can find them new forever homes.”

Prosecutors said Issaquah resident Margaret Ann Hamilton, 70, hoarded more than 100 dogs at homes in Issaquah and Burien.

Read more

Voters could decide $118.9 million county levy for fingerprint services

June 5, 2012

King County voters could decide on a $118.9 million property tax levy to continue funding criminal fingerprint identification services for local law enforcement agencies.

The proposal is to keep the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, in operation through 2018. The system provides criminal fingerprint identification services to law enforcement agencies throughout the county, including the Issaquah Police Department.

The proposed renewal levy rate is 5.92 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $20.72 per year for a $350,000 home.

Voters approved the initial AFIS levy in 1986, and overwhelmingly renewed the levy since then, most recently in 2006. The current levy expires in December.

Read more

Voters could decide $118.9 million levy for fingerprint services

May 31, 2012

NEW — 12:30 p.m. May 31, 2012

King County voters could decide on a $118.9 million property tax levy to continue funding criminal fingerprint identification services for local law enforcement agencies.

The proposal is to keep the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, in operation through 2018. The proposed renewal levy rate is 5.92 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $20.72 per year for a $350,000 home.

The system provides criminal fingerprint identification services to law enforcement agencies throughout the county, including the Issaquah Police Department.

Voters approved the initial AFIS levy in 1986, and overwhelmingly renewed the levy since then, most recently in 2006. The current levy expires in December.

Read more

Jurors rule in favor of police officers involved in deadly shootout

May 29, 2012

Issaquah police officer Brian Horn indicates locations on a map for a King County inquest jury May 22, as District Court Judge David Steiner observes. By Greg Farrar

Jurors deliberated only 19 minutes before determining Issaquah police officers faced a life-threatening scenario and properly used lethal force to stop a rifle-toting man on the Clark Elementary School campus last year.

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How the inquest unfolded to examine Issaquah police officers’ actions

May 29, 2012

The decision from a King County-appointed inquest jury May 23 ended the long investigation set in motion after Ronald W. Ficker abandoned a Kia sedan on a busy downtown Issaquah street.

The inquest process is a fact-finding hearing conducted to determine the circumstances in any officer-involved shooting in the county.

Inquest jurors answer a series of questions, called interrogatories, to determine the facts in the case. Jurors answered 22 interrogatories related to the officers’ actions and Ficker’s death.

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