Seattle Times Opinion

The corrosive power of Rupert Murdoch’s greed
Author: LZ Granderson

The lies of Fox News were only incidentally an attack on democracy. Their purpose was to make money. American civil society was collateral damage.

Washington State News

Liberty's Breanna Stewart wins second MVP award
(Photo credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart won the WNBA Most Valuable Player award, narrowly surpassing Alyssa Thomas of the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday. It's the second MVP for Stewart, also honored in 2018 as a member of the Seattle Storm. Stewart earned 446 total points in the voting by a national group of 60 sportswriters and broadcasters, topping Thomas' 439 points. Stewa
No. 7 Washington rolls heavy artillery into Arizona
(Photo credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) No. 7 Washington rolls into Tucson with the nation's best offense and the top-rated passer to face an improved defense when the Huskies visit Arizona on Saturday night. The Huskies (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) received one vote at No. 1 in this week's Associated Press poll, have scored at least 41 points ineach game and have won every contest by at least 27 points. The closest was last

The Chronicle - Centralia

Man at wheel during high-speed, fatal wreck near Roy has been sentenced to state prison

A man who was accused of driving over 110 mph before crashing and killing a 19-year-old man near Roy has been sentenced to state prison.

Ramone Jermaine Canley, 22, pleaded guilty Friday in Pierce County Superior Court to one count of vehicular homicide for the Sept. 25, 2022, crash that resulted in the death of Alex Pulley, a passenger in the car.

Canley was sentenced to four years. The sentence is below the standard range, according to court records.

Canley will also serve 18 months in community custody and undergo evaluation for substance-abuse treatment.

On the day of the crash, Canley was driving more than 110 mph on a 35 mph rural road near the intersection of 304th Street East and 8th Avenue South, about six miles east of Roy. The crash sent Canley's 2022 Toyota Supra more than 500 feet over a ditch and through a cattle fence, according to previous reporting by The News Tribune.

A Pierce County deputy was dispatched to the scene at about 1:50 a.m. and noticed flashing lights in a large field southeast of the intersection, according to an affidavit for the determination of probable cause. As he walked toward the lights, he heard a man yelling for help.

The man was Canley, who identified himself as the driver, the affidavit reported. He said his friend needed help and told the deputy he was driving at the 35 mph speed limit but fell asleep at the wheel.

According to the Pierce County medical examiner, Pulley suffered a fractured neck, and his cause of death was multiple blunt-force injuries.

In a statement for his guilty plea, Canley wrote he drove a car while being over the legal limit for marijuana that resulted in another person's death.

Family of the victim, whose nickname was "Bugs," told The News Tribune he was born in Lakewood and grew up in Spanaway. His mother, Lori Sheldrew, said her son was taken too soon.

"He was the sweetest young man I've ever met," Sheldrew said in the story. "His Mama, I miss him terribly."

Pierce County Sheriff's Department using social media to bash recent court rulings

Cops and judges don't always agree, but they tend to air their disagreements in private. That's why recent public criticism of Pierce County Superior Court by the county Sheriff's Department is an eyebrow-raiser.

In social media posts, Sheriff Ed Troyer's office has criticized decisions by a court commissioner who set release conditions for suspects charged with felonies after violent encounters with law enforcement.

The blunt Facebook posts suggest the conditions were too lenient.

"WOMAN WHO STOLE CAR TO ESCAPE ARREST, ASSAULTED DEPUTIES IS RELEASED WITHOUT BAIL," a headline on the sheriff's popular Facebook page shouted on Aug. 30.

The 27-year-old woman had reportedly stolen a car at gunpoint on Aug. 11 and fled from sheriff's deputies who tried to catch her.

On Aug. 28, deputies spotted her again. Again, she fled. Deputies chased her to a business in the 14400 block of Canyon Road East. She started walking away, then jumped into another car and fled again, striking deputies in the process, according to charging papers.

She was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree assault, along with other offenses. County prosecutors requested bail of $75,000. Instead, Superior Court Commissioner Barbara McInvaille released the woman on her own recognizance, ordering her to return to court on Aug. 31.

The woman didn't show, according to court records. The next day, McInvaille signed a warrant for the woman's arrest.

"It's frustrating. They're released the next day," said Troyer. "People are getting out of jail before my deputies are released from the hospital."


Crossing a line

The incident, coupled with another recent case involving a fleeing repeat offender who rammed several law enforcement vehicles during a chaotic encounter at a Tacoma convenience store, prompted the Sheriff's Department to cross a line and criticize court decisions on social media.

Troyer said he approved the Facebook posts, but did not write them.

"Yes, they run those by me before they get posted," he said. "If I wrote them, they'd be worse. Are they a shot across the bow? Absolutely."

The clash between branches of the local criminal justice system reveals tension between efforts to seek alternatives to incarceration for lower-level offenders and rising concerns about public safety and accountability. It also reveals a dilemma: In some ways, speaking out is easier for cops, who don't face the same ethical constraints as judicial officers.

McInvaille, the court commissioner, declined a request for comment.

Court commissioners aren't judges. They work for judges. They're appointed by judges to assist with decisions such as arraignments and preliminary appearances where conditions of release are ordered. Pierce County employs 10 court commissioners. They answer to the presiding judge of the Superior Court.

That judge, Timothy Ashcraft, has heard the noise from the Sheriff's Department.


Judge's statement

"I am aware of some of the public statements by our Sheriff's Office and similar statements from Sheriffs in neighboring jurisdictions," Ashcraft told The News Tribune in a recent letter. "You asked if these statements, in my experience, are out of the ordinary. I cannot answer that question as I do not follow our Sheriff, or any Sheriff, on any social media. I cannot specifically recall any time in the past in which the Sheriff made such public comments directed at the Court."

Ashcraft's letter also cited the state's Code of Judicial Conduct, which discourages judges from commenting on ongoing cases in a way that might interfere with a fair trial.

"Based on the Code of Judicial Conduct," Ashcraft's letter added, "I cannot provide a specific response to the Sheriff's Office public comments about our Commissioner's decision, except to say that all bail decisions are required to be made according to the law as set forth in the Washington State Criminal Court Rules."

The "neighboring jurisdictions" include Thurston County, where Sheriff Derek Sanders is also using the department's Facebook page to question rulings regarding bail for repeat offenders charged with violent crimes.

Sanders' statements use a less combative tone, saying in part, "our judges engage in difficult work as they weigh constitutional rights vs public safety."

Troyer said Pierce County prosecutors are also unhappy with the recent low- and no-bail decisions. Asked for confirmation, Adam Faber, spokesperson for prosecutor's office, gave a short answer.

"We share their frustration," he said.


Chaotic incident

In the earlier case from the convenience store, the 33-year-old suspect was a wanted fugitive with three active arrest warrants and prior felony convictions, including drive-by shooting. During the July 27 incident, he rammed several law enforcement vehicles and private cars, injured a deputy and rammed the building itself, trapping customers and employees inside.

"He's always bad, he always do trouble wherever he goes and I'm glad he got caught," the store manager told a News Tribune reporter after the incident.

Following the suspect's arrest on multiple new charges, including four counts of second-degree assault, prosecutors requested $500,000 bail, court records show. McInvaille, presiding over the arraignment hearing, instead set bail at $30,000. The defendant posted bail on Aug. 1, four days after his arrest.

He was ordered to home detention, with limited travel and electronic monitoring. A Sept. 20 entry in the court file notes that he violated those conditions and left home without permission.

Troyer said he and his staff aren't worried about prosecutors involved in the cases.

"We have no issues with the Prosecutor's Office at all," he said. "They're helpful, they're cooperative."

He added that he and his staff are consulting with prosecutors and Ashcraft about the ongoing issue.

"We're working with the presiding judge in Superior Court," Troyer said. "My people are upset about nothing being done about it. Who am I gonna stick up for? It's not a matter of when people are gonna get hurt — they are getting hurt."

Faber, the prosecutor's spokesperson, said he was not personally aware of any such conversations involving prosecutors, the Sheriff's Department and the presiding judge.

In his letter, Ashcraft said he also did not know of such conversations.

"As far as the Sheriff or a representative from the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office reaching out about their concerns on bail decisions, I am not aware of any attempts to communicate with me about their concerns," he wrote. "If they spoke with any previous Presiding Judges, I do not have any knowledge of that. Superior Court is happy to meet with the Sheriff or the Prosecutor to discuss their concerns and to provide insight into the court process."

The whereabouts of the 27-year old suspect who missed her Aug. 31 court date are unknown.

"I'm guessing that we'll have to hunt her down again," Troyer said.

Runners take on thee courses in Oregon

Athletes from seven schools crossed the Columbia and followed it to the coast this past Saturday, taking part in three races of differing difficulty and that aptly-named Three Course Challenge at Camp Rilea in Warrenton, Ore.

Toledo’s Treyton Marty had the best time and the best finish of the day among locals, placing third in the boys’ race on the 5,000-meter moderate course with a time of 17:15.7. Behind him, Oakville eighth grader Cecil Gumaelius took 14th at 19:06 and Winlock’s Chase Trodahl was 22nd at 19:27.6. Tenino’s Carter Mounts ran the moderate course in 20:39.2 for 53rd, Mossyrock’s Ethan Wedam was 122nd in 22:24.3 and Adna’s Zane Powell ran it in 23:42.3 to finished 166th in a field of 337.

Adna’s Jordan Stout took on the difficult course and ran a 19:00.3 to finish 10th. Black Hills had Truman Wimsett take 35th in 20:24.8, and Landen McKissick take 45th in 20:46.6. In the easy-course race, Tenino’s Tristan Von Bargen (18:57.4) placed 17th.

Black Hills’ Zaniah Robinson took home the best local time for the girls, running the moderate course in 25:05.3 for 41st. Mossyrock’s Joan Wedam came in a few spots behind her at 45th in 25:24.0. Oakville’s Carmella Gumaelius was 76th with a time of 27:21. Megan Stout and Megann Price both finished in 31:07 for Adna.

Taelor Woo ran the difficult course for the Wolves and finished in 25:58.2, good for 49th, and Tenino’s Brynn Williams (26:10.4) was 53rd.

In the easy girls race, Winlock’s Victoria Sancho placed 54th with a time of 26:52.7, just ahead of teammate Natalie Cardenas Hernandez (27:01.7).

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Seattle Times Politics

Burien prohibits camping amid high-profile homeless encampment debate
Author: Anna Patrick

For months, Burien has grappled with how to handle a small but growing unsheltered homeless population. Now, the city has passed an anti-camping prohibition.