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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Ex-prosecutor won’t do jail time

A former prosecutor who helped a criminal evade police will not have to go to jail after pleading guilty, paying a fine and doing community service work. Marriya Wright worked as a deputy Spokane County prosecutor when she helped convicted felon Matthew Baumrucker last March as he tried to avoid arrest for assault. She gave Baumrucker a ride to Spokane Valley when police were searching for him.

County agrees to $350,000 settlement with jail inmates

More than 1,000 people jailed in Spokane County in the past six years for failing to pay court-ordered fines will benefit from a class-action lawsuit that prompted the jail to change policy. The settlement, valued at about $350,000, applies to all those booked into the jail for what the courts call legal financial obligations – fees, fines and court-ordered restitution that haven’t been paid.

Q&A with prosecutor candidates Haskell, Beggs

Spokane County prosecuting attorney candidates were allowed 50 words to respond to each of five questions. Their responses are listed in the order the candidates appear on the ballot. Why are you running for county prosecutor?

Prosecutor candidates Haskell, Beggs support reforms to criminal justice system

A lengthy list of prescribed criminal justice reforms and the promise of the first new Spokane County prosecuting attorney since 1998 have conspired to attract intense interest – and dollars – to the race to replace retiring Prosecutor Steve Tucker. Deputy prosecutor Larry Haskell, running on the Republican ticket, holds the edge after garnering 58 percent of the primary votes. But Democrat Breean Beggs, a civil trial attorney who claims victory in reforming the county’s criminal justice system from the outside looking in, holds the fundraising crown as the campaign enters its final month. Beggs reports more than $88,000 in contributions, and Haskell more than $70,000.

Stevens County prosecutor wants guilty verdicts reviewed

The Stevens County prosecuting attorney is taking the unusual step of asking a court to review five guilty verdicts amid concerns that defendants’ constitutional rights may have been violated. Tim Rasmussen submitted a request Monday for the District Court to take another look at five guilty jury verdicts entered between August 2013 and last month. During that time, District Court Administrator Nadine Borders ceased sending prosecuting and defense attorneys copies of responses to generic questionnaires mailed to those summoned for jury duty, asking for information including job history, previous interaction with the courts and education level, according to court documents.

Shawn Vestal: In the sordid wake of the bikini-clad prosecutor

So, just to be clear: The prosecutor who was buddying up to a criminal – a criminal with the word “Criminal” tattooed on his forehead – turns out to be the one who dismissed felony charges against a reputed Hell’s Angel in order to cover up the internal investigation of a police officer who was hooking up with a criminal. The cop’s still on the job, slapped gently on the wrist. The prosecutor’s on paid leave, pending an investigation. And the supposed Hell’s Angel? The one who once led police on a chase through West Central? The one police considered so dangerous they called out the SWAT team to arrest him?

Spokane County prosecutor linked to felon by texts, video, bikini photo

More than a thousand texts, surveillance video and a bikini photograph have linked a convicted felon to a suspended Spokane County deputy prosecutor, who now faces potential charges of rendering criminal assistance. Meanwhile, the meter continues to run for taxpayers.

County prosecutor allegedly aided wanted felon

A Spokane County deputy prosecutor who has been on leave since April is suspected of aiding a wanted felon in eluding capture earlier this year, according to court documents recently unsealed.

Judge authorizes $221,574 payment to Gerlach attorneys, witnesses

Taxpayers will have to dole out more than $220,000 to defense attorneys and expert witnesses who helped Gail Gerlach beat a manslaughter charge in an April trial. A jury acquitted Gerlach of criminal wrongdoing after he fired a single shot that struck Brendon Kaluza-Graham in the back of the head.

STA stabbing suspect released on earlier charges

The homicide suspect in a fatal downtown stabbing on Saturday left jail last month after Spokane police did not file paperwork needed to hold him on a separate incident. Donald Phillips was arrested May 7 facing charges of attempted burglary, drug possession and harassment – one week after finishing a seven-year prison sentence for robbing and kidnapping a Spokane man. Phillips received a bond of $50,000 in the May 7 case and was scheduled to answer those charges May 20 in a Spokane courtroom.

Breean Beggs, Larry Haskell tout skills at prosecutor debate

The two men vying to replace longtime Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Tucker touted competing advantages at a debate downtown Wednesday night. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Larry Haskell, running for the GOP, said his 16 years of experience in the office and assisting federal prosecutors should make him a clear favorite over his opponent. Democratic candidate Breean Beggs, a private practice civil attorney who led the Center for Justice for several years, said he would bring fresh ideas to the office that would upend the status quo.

Shawn Vestal: Coroner would help clear air about police shootings

Seven years ago, Prosecutor Steve Tucker had an interesting idea. Tucker was coming under criticism at the time for his office’s slow handling of its review of the Otto Zehm case. Perhaps, Tucker said then, we should conduct coroner’s inquests into cases where someone dies in confrontations with police: seat juries of citizens to review the deaths, provide a public window into the investigative process, and lay the groundwork for any decision by prosecutors about whether the police actions were lawful.

Video of fatal shooting outside Salvation Army released

Surveillance cameras outside a Salvation Army housing facility captured Danny Jones in his red pickup truck as it lurched toward the building’s front door moments before smoke filled the air as officers opened fire last August. Jones, a former confidential informant working for the Spokane Police Department as a drug buyer, was not armed. But witnesses say he asked to be shot and claimed to be high at the time of the killing, according to public records obtained by The Spokesman-Review.