Burglary. Purse snatching. Manufacturing meth. Marijuana possession, of a certain amount. These are all examples of crimes that some states consider violent. Others include possessing a precursor chemical with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine, aiding in an attempted suicide, and trafficking in a stolen identity.
Court diversion programs are a way to keep people out of prison, which is crucial in our age of mass incarceration. These programs usually target groups of people such as veterans acting out due to service-related issues or people whose crimes were motivated by addiction.
Last July, a 23-year-old man named Amer A. pled guilty to providing material support to terrorists. We'd all like to believe that the guilty plea got a dangerous person off the streets. Unfortunately, people plead guilty of a wide variety of reasons, including intense pressure from prosecutors to make a deal or face a much harsher sentence at trial. Now, Amer is up for sentencing -- but what if what he did was talk?
The death penalty in Washington has been found unconstitutional three times in the past, and the Washington Supreme Court just found the same thing again. It did not find that the imposition of the death penalty was inherently unconstitutional. "The death penalty is invalid," the court found instead, "because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner." Therefore, it violates both the U.S. and Washington constitutions' prohibitions on cruel punishment.