An Alaska man accused of murdering an elderly Chehalis couple in 1985 is awaiting extradition to Lewis County, Wash. Police say the arrest of Rick Riffe of King Salmon, Alaska, closes a cold case investigation that spans 26 years.

Rachael McDonald / KLCC

This week, the Lane County Sheriff released nearly 100 prisoners from jail, including three homicide suspects. Friday nearly 30 sheriff's employees were laid off. The District Attorney has to lay off at least 14 from his office. The county has a bare bones budget due to loss of timber funding and low property tax revenue.

Rachael McDonald / KLCC

Nearly 100 inmates of the Lane County Jail will be released this week. Not because they've served their time, but because the county can't afford to keep them. This after commissioners cut nearly $100 million from the general fund.

the Wang family

Before Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire leaves office in January, she will decide whether to commute the life sentence of convicted killer Barry Massey. His attorneys hope this week’s Supreme Court ruling on life without parole for juveniles will bolster their case for clemency.


A new lawsuit alleges sexual abuse by workers at Oregon's only prison for women. It's the latest in a series of lawsuits brought by female inmates at the institution in Wilsonville.

Feds Close Case On 2011 UW Horticulture Arson

Jun 22, 2012

The last person charged with the 2001 arson of a University of Washington building was sentenced today to four years in prison. Liz Jones has more.

Franz Jantzen /

Northwest tribes stand to receive big payments from the federal government after a U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday. Here’s the upshot of the ruling: the government has to uphold contracts with American Indian tribes, even if Congress shortchanges those deals.

In a far reaching opinion Thursday, the Oregon Supreme Court gave judges the power to decide what evidence can and cannot be released to the public after a trial.

Several news organizations, including Oregon Public Broadcasting, sought a set of 1,200 files with the names of  Boy Scout staff who'd been accused of sexual abuse.

The files had been used as evidence during trial. But after that trial, Multnomah County Judge John Whitmire said the files could only be released if they were redacted.  Media organizations appealed, asking to see what the jury had seen.

Four Idaho reporters watched as an execution team inserted I-V's into convicted murderer Richard Leavitt today . This was the first time witnesses were allowed to watch what happens as soon as the condemned is wheeled into the death chamber on a gurney. the Idaho Department of Correction would not have changed its ways without a lawsuit.

The Associated Press and other Idaho news organizations sued the state to view Richard Leavitt’s entire execution. They won last Friday in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Idaho Dept. of Corrections

In 1985, a jury convicted Richard A. Leavitt of the brutal first-degree murder of Danette J. Elg a year earlier. Elg of Blackfoot, Idaho had been stabbed more than a dozen times and her body was mutilated. The state will execute 53 year-old Leavitt Tuesday by lethal injection unless there’s a last minute stay. .

Male death row prisoners are housed in the Idaho Maximum Security Institution, or Idaho Max. Guards moved Leavitt to a lone cell last month after the state Department of Correction served him with a death warrant.

U.S. Marshals

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies say they’ve swept up more than 200 violent felons in Eastern Washington. So-called 'Operation Scattergun II' focused on wanted offenders in the Spokane, Tri-Cities and Yakima regions last week. Beatrice Bravo is a Deputy U.S. Marshal based in Spokane. She says the felon roundup took a lot of advance planning. Sues Washington State

Jun 5, 2012

The online classifieds website filed a lawsuit against the state of Washington Monday. It’s over a bill passed by the legislature this year, which aims to reduce sex trafficking.

Village Voice Media owns the national online classifieds site The company also owns the Seattle Weekly, and they run their online classifieds through Backpage. Seattle police say they have caught pimps selling underage girls…at

Now, the company is suing Washington state.

Seattle city leaders are praising a hero who prevented more victims in Wednesday’s shooting.

Asst. Police Chief Jim Pugel described what he saw from a video that captured the shooting at Café Racer. He says the hero was sitting next to the suspect when he started firing at people.

Pugel: "The hero picked up a stool and threw it at the suspect, hit him. Picked up another stool, and hit him, this time, suspect is pointing at him.  During that time two or possibly three people made their escape and the suspect was between them and the door."

Decision On Cody Crawford's Release Postponed

May 29, 2012

A federal judge in Eugene heard arguments Tuesday for the release of a man charged in the fire bombing of a Corvallis mosque in 2010. Cody Crawford is currently in jail awaiting trial.

Government lawyers argued victims of the mosque bombing were not given enough notice of Cody Crawford's motion for release. Despite this, Judge Thomas Coffin allowed the defense to make their arguments.

Crawford's attorney presented a psychologist's opinion that his client has Aspergers syndrome, and would not be dangerous if released.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The Associated Press and other news agencies sued the state of Idaho yesterday to view prisoner executions from start to finish. Reporters want to be able to observe and report any complications that might come up.

AP reporter Rebecca Boone is among those fighting to see the entire execution.

Rebecca Boone: "This is the most powerful action that the courts and government can take, it’s killing a person. So if we don’t know what happens for half of that process, then it’s impossible to have an educated and vital debate about it."

Photo courtesy of University of Idaho

The memorial service for University of Idaho football player Ken McRoyal is next Wednesday in Carson, California. McRoyal was shot to death last weekend in the Lincoln Heights section of Los Angeles. Northwest Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley has more.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber hopes a newly revived public safety commission will lead to big changes in the state's criminal justice system. The Democrat issued an executive order Monday that brings back to life a blue ribbon panel created by his predecessor, Ted Kulongoski.

Oregon's prison population is expected to grow by another 2,000 by the end of the decade. Kitzhaber's public safety adviser, Steven Powers, says the governor thinks Oregon needs to take a close look at everything from mandatory sentences to drug rehabilitation programs.

Wash. Supreme Court Orders New Trial For Darold Stenson

May 10, 2012
Washington Department of Corrections

The high court says that Darold Stenson’s rights were violated. In their ruling the justices say the state wrongfully suppressed photographs that raised questions about mishandling of evidence as well as an FBI file.

Sheryl Gordon McCloud is Stenson’s attorney.
“The photograph, which we didn’t discover until a few years ago shows the lead detective on the case with his bare ungloved hands holding those pants with those pockets turned out shortly before the gunshot residue test was taken. A picture is worth a thousand words cops carry gun, guns leave gunshot residue, he’s holding the pants with his ungloved hands."

Officials Prepare To Dismantle North Bend Bunker

Apr 30, 2012

Officials say a fortified  bunker built by a man suspected of killing his wife and teenage daughter will be destroyed. 

Photo credit: Oregon DOC / Oregon Department of Corrections

An Oregon death row inmate will make an unusual argument in court Wednesday. Gary Haugen says Governor John Kitzhaber overstepped his authority by halting all executions in the state.

Two time convicted murderer Gary Haugen was set to die by lethal injection last December. But two weeks before the scheduled execution, Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber put Oregon's death penalty on hold. The governor wants lawmakers and the public to reexamine the state's capital punishment system.

The job of recovering the largest ethics fine in Washington state history just got tougher. State officials have been unable to locate a former Evergreen State College professor who skipped out on his six-figure fine. Even though Jorge Gilbert's whereabouts are unknown, he managed to sell off his condominium in Olympia last week before the state could seize it.

Photo credit: Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. - Corrections officials in Olympia and Salem are bracing for an expected increase in prisoners. The Washington Department of Corrections is predicting a need for 900 more beds in the next four years. And a new report issued Friday confirms an earlier forecast that Oregon will need housing for 2,000 more inmates by the end of the decade.

Idaho Lawmakers Say Don’t Text And Drive

Mar 23, 2012
Photo credit: Wikimedia user Alton / Wikimedia Commons

Since 2009, Idaho lawmakers have tried, and failed, to pass a bill to ban texting while driving. Until today. Senators passed a ban this morning and sent it to Governor Butch Otter. The version that passed was watered down from the original legislation proposed earlier this session. Senator Jim Hammond, (R-Coeur d'Alene,), the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, explains.

Image courtesy of pool video feed

SALEM, Ore. – Five Oregon murderers are getting a chance at an earlier parole date. They are inmates who are serving life sentences for crimes committed when they were teens. Two of the killers went before the Oregon Parole Board Tuesday. It’s the latest step in an ongoing controversy over how to treat these offenders.

Texting While Driving May Soon Be Banned In Idaho

Mar 20, 2012
Wikimedia user: WhisperToMe / Wikimedia Commons

Idaho lawmakers are one step closer to signing off on a bill that would ban texting while driving.

For years state lawmakers have tried to pass legislation that would make it illegal to text and drive. This year may be different because Tuesday the House agreed to a bill that would make texting while driving an infraction. Supporters say this would send a strong message to drivers, especially teenagers, that it's dangerous to text and drive.

Photo credit: Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE:  The suspect, Steven Daniel Kravetz, age 34, was arrested on Saturday afternoon in Olympia.  

UPDATE: Authorities now say Judge David Edwards and Deputy Polly Davins are in stable condition and expected to survive.

SEATTLE, Wash. -- The Grays Harbor County Courthouse in Montesano and nearby buildings are on lockdown following a shooting and stabbing this afternoon. Authorities are on a manhunt for the suspected attacker.

Photo credit: Katie Campbell / Photo courtesy Northwest News Network

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Here’s some trivia – name the natural resource that provided 28 million dollars to the state of Washington last year. Nope, not timber.

Think shellfish… but not just any shellfish. Geoducks. These huge, funny-looking clams are harvested wild from below the surface of Puget Sound - and they’re fetching high prices in Asia. Ashley Ahearn reports.

Photo credit: Rachael McDonald / KLCC

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled an Oregon man must report to prison next week for a money laundering conviction. The case centered around a defunct Ashland Islamic charity.

Photo Credit: Washington State Patrol / Photo courtesy Washington State Patrol

Police say the driver suspected in the overnight shooting of a Washington State Trooper has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Kitsap County Sheriff's sergeant Ken Dickinson says Joshua Blake shot himself as a SWAT team surrounded a mobile home south of Port Orchard. A tipster told officers the alleged shooter might be hiding in there.

Photo courtesy of Sea Shepherd.

SEATTLE – A federal judge in Seattle Thursday refused a request for protection made by Japanese whalers. The whalers were hoping to put a stop to almost daily harassment by an aggressive anti-whaling group based in western Washington. Correspondent Tom Banse has more on the story.