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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County judge denies prison time compensation to three men

Three men whose convictions for drug-related crimes were thrown out after they spent four years in prison are not entitled to compensation by the state, a Spokane County judge has ruled. Robert Larson, Tyler Gassman and Paul Statler sued the state in January 2014 and sought about $680,000 under a law written to compensate prisoners who were wrongfully jailed. The three men were convicted of charges including assault, robbery and drive-by-shooting stemming from drug-related activity in April 2008 and have maintained their innocence.

Wrongful imprisonment claims fail before Spokane judge

Three men who say they were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for a drug-related robbery from April 2008 they did not commit lost a bid for compensation under a state law after a four-day trial in January.

Spokane County says drug task force is still in its budget

County officials are pushing back after Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich predicted last week the end of large-scale drug trafficking investigations due to budget woes. Knezovich said Monday he’d met with county commissioners, who told him there was no additional money in the general fund available for the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force.

AG’s office: No consent needed for body cameras

The cameras that will soon be worn by all Spokane police officers on patrol may continue rolling without consent in most cases, the Washington attorney general’s office announced Monday. Most interactions between officers and citizens are public and exempt from the state’s stringent privacy laws, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and members of his team told reporters Monday. They believe that finding will prompt many jurisdictions to adjust their policies.

Obama nominates first black woman for attorney general

WASHINGTON – In a second trail-blazing pick for the nation’s top law enforcement officer, President Barack Obama intends to nominate a federal prosecutor in New York to become the next attorney general and the first black woman to lead the Justice Department. Obama’s spokesman said Friday the president will announce his selection of Loretta Lynch from the White House today. If confirmed by the Senate, she would replace Eric Holder, who announced his resignation in September after serving as the nation’s first black attorney general.

In brief: Event to focus on exposing scams

The Washington state Attorney General’s Office and AARP are having a free “Scam Jam” Sept. 9 in Spokane to help people avoid today’s leading scams designed to steal your identity and your savings, especially those that prey on seniors. The event will focus on scams that are tearing through the nation. Participants also will hear tips learned straight from the con-artists about who they target and why, according to an AARP press release.

Washington seeks to avoid court ruling that state pot law is pre-empted by federal law

OLYMPIA – Washington wants to join legal battles between some potential pot businesses and cities that won’t let them open inside their boundaries. But Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the state won’t side strictly with one side or the other. It hopes to argue that cities have the right to ban such businesses under state law, even if they have licenses from the state Liquor Control Board, but cities can’t use the excuse that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Spokane woman pleads guilty to Medicaid fraud

The cases of four women, among them a Spokane caregiver, accused of Medicaid fraud have returned $137,000 to state coffers, according to the Washington state attorney general's office.

Colville officer pleads guilty to sex crimes

Colville Police officer Rex Newport pleaded guilty to five criminal felony and misdemeanor counts Tuesday, according to the Washington Attorney General's Office. Newport admitted to having sex on the job with women who were suspected of driving drunk.

Idaho spends millions on outside attorneys

BOISE – Idaho taxpayers have paid private attorneys more than $18 million in the past three years to do the state’s legal work, in large part because the Idaho attorney general’s office doesn’t have the staff to handle the caseload. The Associated Press obtained the payment information through a public-records request to the Idaho state controller’s office. It shows that Idaho government agencies have paid private law firms more than $18 million since fiscal year 2011, including about $3 million for attorneys who serve as administrative hearing officers. The private law firms charge the state anywhere from $125 to more than $400 an hour, compared to the $54 per hour it costs to have one of the state’s staff attorneys do the job.