Sunday, December 14, 2014

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Cowlitz Indian Tribe

A federal judge has sided with the Cowlitz Indian tribe in its long fight to establish a reservation and build a casino along Interstate 5 in southwest Washington.

U.S. District Judge Barbara J. Rothstein in Washington, D.C., on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs who had challenged a federal government decision to put into trust for the tribe about 152 acres west of La Center in Clark County and to allow gambling on that land, the Columbian reported.

The tribe of southwest Washington, which has about 3,500 members but no land of its own, plans to develop the property into tribal offices, housing, a tribal center as well as a massive casino-resort complex with a roughly 134,000-square-foot casino.

Plaintiffs who challenged the federal government's decisions questioned the Cowlitz tribe's historical ties to the area west of Interstate 5, the newspaper reported.

The tribal offices are 24 miles north of the site, and plaintiffs argued that the Cowlitz tribe just wanted their reservation to be an easy 16-mile drive from Portland to attract casino customers in that area.

The plaintiffs include the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, which owns and operates a casino that would compete with any future casino built on the land.

Others who sued include Clark County and the city of Vancouver, property owners and card room businesses. The plaintiffs include a group called Citizens Against Reservation Shopping, which includes The Columbian's publisher, Scott Campbell.

They argued that the federal government violated the law in issuing its decision to put the land into trust and to allow gambling on that land.

The Grand Ronde tribe on Friday said it needs to analyze the judge's opinion but it disagrees.

Officials with Vancouver and Clark County said Friday that they needed more time to review the judge's opinion before deciding whether to appeal.

The federal government recognized the Cowlitz tribe in 2000. That ruling was challenged and affirmed in 2002, and the tribe applied to take the land into trust.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a decision in 2010 that was challenged. A federal judge told the agency to rescind that 2010 decision and issue a new one, which was also challenged.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

State Patrol Upgrades DUI Breath-Test Machines


The Washington State Patrol is replacing its old breath-test machines with sleek, fast, new $9,500 devices that are used to test drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
The State Patrol will be placing 83 of the new Dräger Alcotest 9510 machines in police and sheriff’s stations, jails and State Patrol divisions in northeast and southeast Washington before enough are available to use statewide.The machines will be used to test drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Like the old devices, the new one measures alcohol in the lungs by analyzing exhaled breath.
“It’s a measure in the breath-alcohol concentration and if it’s at or above 0.08 it can be used as evidence of DUI,” said State Patrol Lt. Rob Sharpe, who heads the agency’s Impaired Driving Section.
Sharpe said they have purchased the breath-test “instruments” at $9,500 each, and need to purchase 200 more to replace the old DataMasters devices.

Sharpe said that after learning about five years ago that manufacture of the DataMaster machines was coming to an end, the State Patrol launched a search for a suitable replacement.
He said they looked at four different machines before deciding on the Dräger Alcotest 9510.

According to the Dräger website, the machine is only used by law enforcement.
Brian Shaffer, bid and tender manager for Dräger, said in an email that law-enforcement agencies in New York, Connecticut, California and Washington, D.C., are using the Alcotest 9510. Demonstrating the Alcotest machine inside the State Patrol’s South Seattle office, Sterkel swiped his breath-test operator card on the machine’s card reader to begin the testing process. Then he swiped a test state driver’s license on the card reader to download the driver’s information.

On the touch-screen readout, Sterkel was asked where the suspect had been drinking, whether the driver had put anything in his or her mouth after being arrested, what crime the person was suspected of and whether the driver was involved in a DUI-related crash.

Then a prompt indicated it was time for the subject to blow into a hose attached to the machine. The screen lit up and gave instructions on when to blow and whether the sample was successfully captured.
In a matter of minutes Sterkel’s breath test came back clear of alcohol.

While the new machine allows law enforcement to send real-time data over the Internet, Sharpe said the State Patrol will not begin using this feature until security protocols are established on sending the information.

The State Patrol says the new machines utilize a dry gas standard instead of a liquid solution to verify that the instrument is working properly. For years, liquid solutions have had to be mixed locally by scientists, monitored for temperature, and checked regularly by technicians.

The Dräger’s dry gas contains a known concentration of alcohol, allowing the instrument to verify that a suspect’s breath alcohol is being measured accurately and reliably, the State Patrol said.
Sterkel, who works in the State Patrol’s Yakima office, is one of the first troopers in the state to be trained on the new machine.

Only troopers, sheriff’s deputies and police officers certified in the Alcotest will be allowed to use the machines.

Until the state replaces all of the DataMasters, law enforcement will continue using the old technology to test suspected drunken drivers, Sharpe said.

The State Patrol has come under heat in the past for using the DataMaster machines, as well for as their DUI protocols.

In 2008, three King County District Court judges issued a blistering 29-page ruling, saying that the lab engaged in “fraudulent and scientifically unacceptable” practices that have compromised breath-test readings used to prosecute suspected drunken drivers.

The judges found that a “multiplicity of errors,” including how breath-test results were analyzed and verified at the lab, affected thousands of cases in recent years.

Specifically, the judges criticized the work of the former state toxicologist and the former lab manager. The allegations included errors to the way the breath-test machines were calibrated.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

86 Year Old Drinks Brandy for Cough

An 86-year-old man who caused a three-car crash while driving the wrong way down I-5 November 24, 2014 admitted to drinking brandy beforehand to help with a cough, according to charges filed in Pierce County Superior Court.
 
According to the Washington State Patrol, Panos Palas of University Place was driving north on southbound I-5 near the Tacoma Dome around 10:30 p.m. when he hit a minivan before crashing head on into another car.
 
According to the charging documents, the minivan was only lightly damaged, but one of the three passengers in the second car suffered a broken leg. She was taken to the hospital for treatment.
 
When deputies contacted Palas inside his Toyota Rav4, they could smell alcohol on his breath and he spoke with a slur, according to the charging documents. He reportedly told deputies he had been driving from Auburn and gotten turned around in the construction area.
 
Despite denying having anything to drink, Palas blew a BAC of 0.123, according to the charging documents. He later reportedly admitted to drinking brandy because he had a cough and the liquor helped with his medicine.
 
Palas was booked into Pierce County Jail following the incident. He was charged with vehicular assault the following Wednesday.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pot Sellers Preparing for the Holidays

From new marijuana strains for the holidays to gift sets and pot-and-pumpkin pies, the marijuana industry in Colorado is scrambling to get a piece of the holiday shopping dollar. Dispensaries in many states have been offering holiday specials for medical customers for years - but this first season of open-to-all-adults marijuana sales in some states means pot shops are using more of the tricks used by traditional retailers to attract holiday shoppers.

Here's a look at how the new recreational marijuana industry is trying to attract holiday shoppers:

OLD-FASHIONED DOORBUSTERS

Traditional retailers sell some items below cost to drive traffic and attract sales. Recreational marijuana retailers are doing the same.

The Grass Station in Denver is selling an ounce of marijuana for $50 - about a fifth of the cost of the next-cheapest strain at the Colorado dispensary - to the first 16 customers in line Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That works out to less than $1 a joint for the ambitious early-rising pot shopper. Owner Ryan Fox says his Black Friday pot is decent quality, and says he's selling below cost to attract attention and pick up some new customers. As Colorado dispensaries approach a year of being able to sell weed to all adults over 21, not just card-carrying medical patients, Fox says retailers have to do more than just sell pot to get public attention.

Pot shops are using old and new media to tout the sales. One dispensary is taking out a full-page "Happy Danksgiving" ad in The Denver Post and is inviting shoppers to text a code for extra savings.

VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS

Sweets and marijuana seem to go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows. Many dispensaries this time of year resemble a Starbucks at the mall, with holiday spices and festive music in the air. One of the state's largest edible-pot makers, Sweet Grass Kitchen, debuted a new miniature pumpkin pie that delivers about as much punch as a medium-sized joint. The pie joins holiday-spiced teas, minty pot confections and cannabis-infused honey oil for those who want to bake their own pot goodies at home. Even some edibles makers that specialize in savory foods, not sweets, are putting out some sugary items for the holidays.

HOLIDAY STRAINS

Some shops are angling for high-end holiday shoppers, not an increase in foot traffic. Colorado Harvest and Evergreen Apothecary timed the release of some top-shelf strains of potent pot for the holiday season.

GIFT WRAPPING

What holiday shopper doesn't appreciate free gift wrapping? Or a gift set ready to pop under the tree? The Growing Kitchen is making $49.99 gift sets for both the medical and recreational pot user. The sets include the edible-pot maker's new Mighty Mint cookie, a pot-infused confection new for the holiday shopping season, along with marijuana-infused salves for muscles sore from the ski slopes. Other dispensaries are offering free gift totes and stockings with purchases.

GIFT CARDS

For the shopper who wants to give pot but doesn't know how the recipient likes to get high, Colorado's 300 or so recreational dispensaries so far have been able to issue only handwritten gift certificates. That's because banking regulations prohibit major credit cards companies from being able to back marijuana-related gift cards the way they do for other retailers.

Just this month, a Colorado company started offering pot shops a branded gift card they can sell just like other retailers. The cards are in eight Denver dispensaries so far, and coming soon will be loyalty cards similar to grocery-store loyalty cards that track purchases and can be used to suggest sales or new products to frequent shoppers.

CANNAGIFTS FOR THE MAIL

Just because marijuana can't legally leave Colorado doesn't mean dispensaries don't have items for out-of-state friends and family. Some dispensaries are highlighting some non-cannabis gift items - things like T-shirts, rolling papers and lotions made with legal herbs. The sets are for shoppers who want to give a taste of Colorado's new marijuana industry without breaking federal law by mailing it or taking it out of state.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

WA State's First Marijuana Auction Brings in $600,000

Washington state's first marijuana auction brought in about $600,000. Fireweed Farms of Prosser sold about 300 pounds of pot to state-licensed processors and retailers Saturday.

Bidding took place under a black tent fronted by tall heaters, and the event was monitored by at least two representatives of the Washington Liquor Control Board. Bidders could smell plastic bags of buds before offering a bid.

The marijuana was planted in May and harvested between late September and mid-October. Fireweed Farms owner Randy Williams had sold some of his marijuana to recreational processors earlier this year, but the auction represented the bulk of his harvest.

He said he held the auction to "get rid of it all quick" so he could spend time with his grandson instead of packaging marijuana. The harvested and dried marijuana was priced by the gram and auctioned by the strain in lots ranging from about half a pound to five pounds.

Williams said he planned to donate proceeds from three lots, totaling $14,000, to local schools.

Lt. Jeremy Wissing, an officer with the state Liquor Control Board who monitored a portion of Saturday's auction, said it appeared to be well run.

"I'm seeing a well-organized event," Wissing said outside the Fireweed Farms grow area. "It isn't a circus. I'm not seeing open consumption of marijuana."

Williams initially hoped to make $1 million through the marijuana fire sale, but said during the auction that he'd be happy with $600,000 or $700,000.

The purchased marijuana was to remain under video-monitored quarantine at Fireweed Farms overnight Saturday, Wissing said. Buyers could either retrieve their marijuana Sunday or arrange for it to be delivered to their business by Williams.

Although Saturday's auction was the state's first, Wissing doesn't expect it to be the last.

"It's just a different way of moving his product," Wissing said.

Interest in the marijuana auction was so intense that Williams commissioned the use of a parking lot across the street from his property to accommodate the visitors.

Buyers were provided with a detailed list of strains and lot sizes that provided a complete potency profile, labeling requirements and the date the batch was tested by Confidence Analytics, a state-certified laboratory. The auction attracted about three dozen potential buyers from across the state.

Nazareth Victoria, a 50-year-old licensed marijuana processor from Seattle, left empty-handed. He came because he was interested in seeing what was available, but ultimately wasn't sure about the quality, he said.

"I was just interested in the whole process," Victoria said. "To me, smoking the product is the ultimate test to tell you the quality." Sampling the product was strictly forbidden Saturday.
 
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Flightcar Lets Travelers Park for Free Except DUI Defendants

Travelers planning on leaving their cars at Sea-Tac Airport can park without paying at a lot on International Blvd.  if they're willing to let Flightcar rent their vehicle to incoming travelers.

"While you're on your trip, you'll actually get notifications so you know what's happening with your car," said Flightcar co-founder and president Kevin Petrovic. "You know whether someone rented it."

The 20-year-old Petrovic isn't old enough to rent a car at most agencies. He left Princeton to launch his peer-to-peer car sharing company and says he's yet to make a profit.

But people parking can save money and make money. Vacationers park for free and get a car wash at no cost, even if nobody ends up renting their vehicle. Car owners get reimbursed up 5 to 20 cents a mile depending on their car model.

"Because we use other people's cars and don't use our own cars, we're actually able to offer a little bit of a lower price," Petrovic said.

He also said Flightcar screens the driving history of every renter. People with DUI's or more than 2 minor violations in the last two years aren't eligible.

If the car is scratched, wrecked, or stolen, Flightcar covers it. The startup takes out a million dollar liability and full collision on each car.

Some Sea-Tac travelers expressed reservations about letting a stranger behind their wheel.

Flightcar is new to Seattle but already has locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pot Advocates Look to California Next

Marijuana advocates, fresh off victories for legal recreational pot in Oregon, Alaska and the nation's capital, are already preparing for their next target, and it's a big one: California.

They are aiming to ask voters in the nation's largest state to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2016, hoping to draw on a more liberal and larger electorate during a presidential election to help them avoid a repeat of their 2010 failed pot measure.

The victories in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia came in a midterm election that saw a low turnout and a conservative electorate hand Republicans back control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2006.

The results emboldened them - even from a loss in Florida, where a medical marijuana proposal earned 58 percent of the vote, just shy of the 60 percent required to pass.

The pot votes were considered by many to be the first real test of marijuana reform's popularity since Washington state and Colorado passed the nation's first legal pot laws in 2012, boosted then by the higher turnout among young people typical of presidential election years.

After the wins in Colorado and Washington, a coalition of activists considered rushing a tax-and-regulate measure to this year's ballot in California. Their polling showed solid support, but they remained chastened by 2010, when a legalization proposal there polled well but fell short.

Early this year, given the huge expense of a serious statewide campaign in California, they opted for what they considered a safer bet: waiting until the presidential election year in 2016, with its anticipated bumper crop of younger voters.

The Marijuana Policy Project, which was heavily involved in Colorado's campaign, has formed a committee to begin fundraising in California, where it again plans to urge voters to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

Activists also hope to bring legal pot to Massachusetts, Maine and other states.

Tuesday saw voters in the District of Columbia approving the possession of up to two ounces of pot and up to three mature marijuana plants for personal use, but the proposal did not provide for the legal sale of marijuana. That's left up to the D.C. Council.

The measures in Oregon and Alaska follow Colorado and Washington state in setting up regulation and taxation systems.

Advocates, opponents and the U.S. government have closely watched Washington and Colorado to gauge the impact on the black market, drug use among teens and impaired driving, among other areas.

In both states, adults over 21 can purchase marijuana, including potent extracts and edibles, at state-licensed dispensaries.

Colorado is on track to bring in about $84 million this year from medical and recreational pot taxes and fees. In Washington, where recreational pot sales began in July, the tax collections have totaled more than $7 million.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.