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Seattle Legislation Would Excuse Misdemeanors by Those with Behavioral Health Issues

needles
Needles from drug addicts are seen littering the pavement on Sept. 25, 2020. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 28 October 2020 04:46 PM

A city council member in Seattle, Washington, introduced legislation last week to ''excuse and dismiss'' almost all misdemeanor crimes committed in the city by ''persons with symptoms of addiction or mental disorder,'' KOMO News reports.

Critics say Lisa Herbold’s legislation, if approved, would create a loophole that would ''open the floodgates to crime in Seattle.''

"The legislation proposes that any perpetrator with a credible claim of behavioral health symptoms — anything from drug use to depression — would effectively have blanket immunity from prosecution for misdemeanor assault, theft, harassment, trespass, stalking, car prowl, and 100 other Seattle criminal laws,'' Scott Lindsay, a former public safety adviser and special assistant for police reform to the City of Seattle, said in a legal analysis posted to ChangeWA, a non-partisan organization.

Herbold’s proposal would dismiss all misdemeanor crimes, except DUIs and domestic violence committed by offenders who could show either:

  • Symptoms of addiction without being required to provide a medical diagnosis;
  • Symptoms of a mental disorder; or
  • Poverty and the crime was committed to meet an "immediate and basic need."

''The intent of the proposal is to provide a defense,'' Herbold said last week during a budget discussion, per KIRO7.

''The notion that suddenly all of these cases are going to be dismissed — it’s not an analysis that makes any sense to me,'' said King County Public Defender Anita Khandelwal.  

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A city council member in Seattle, Washington, introduced legislation last week to ''excuse and dismiss'' almost all misdemeanor crimes committed in the city by ''persons with symptoms of addiction or mental disorder,'' KOMO News reports. Critics say Lisa Herbold's...
seattle, legislation, citycouncil
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2020-46-28
Wednesday, 28 October 2020 04:46 PM
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