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Criminal justice

Spring 2003

Pailca oversees accountability within Seattle Police Department

A case involving Asian-American teenagers detained by a Seattle police officer for jaywalking sounds routine enough, but the July 2001 incident soon unfolded into highly publicized accusations of racial profiling. The issue landed in the lap of attorney Sandra “Sam” Pailca, the first director of the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) within the Seattle Police Department.

Pailca found that while the officer was rude to the group, his actions did not amount to inappropriate treatment because of race. The police chief agreed with Pailca’s call for minor discipline for the officer, a decision unpopular both in the Asian community and with many in uniform, leading … » More …

Summer 2004

The kid from Odessa

As he looked around the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room last June, Lonny Suko had not lost sight of how he got there.

At age 59, he had gone east to face questions about his ability to replace U.S. District Court judge William Fremming Nielson, who took senior status.

Did Suko have the personal and professional mettle to serve as judge for the Eastern District of Washington state?

His answer came July 15, when the Senate confirmed President Bush’s nomination of him by a 94-0 vote.

The trip to Washington D.C., a venture backed by the area’s Congressional delegation, capped what was a “tremendously … » More …

Summer 2004

Racial profiling in Washington—policy and perception

The likelihood of being stopped by the Washington State Patrol on state roads and highways is not affected by a driver’s race or ethnicity, according to Washington State University researchers who analyzed two million WSP contacts between May 2000 and October 2002.

The WSU report was issued last summer by political scientists Nicholas Lovrich and Mitchell Pickerill, criminal justice professors Michael Gaffney and Michael R. Smith, and sociologist Clay Mosher. Unlike studies in other states, the report indicates no evidence of biased policing in the rate of driver stops.

Washington is one of at least 14 states that have passed legislation to help eliminate “the … » More …

Fall 2009

Curbing aggressive driving

There’s something about youth and speed and cars.

Criminal justice doctoral student Yu-Sheng Lin tapped into it in his study of risky and aggressive driving behaviors. Surveying Washington State University students, who averaged the age of 19, he joined up with marketing graduate student Mark Mulder and associate professor Jeffrey Joireman to look at the effects of impulsivity and thrill-seeking on dangerous driving. They also examined whether the drivers considered future consequences when making their choices on the road.

Aggressive driving is likely the last crime to be featured on a television drama, Lin admits. “But I wanted to focus on something that can apply … » More …

Summer 2009

Jacqueline van Wormer–Advocacy for juveniles

One morning this winter, the Benton County Juvenile Justice Center is quiet since most of the residents are in classrooms and only one teen waits in lock-up. A couple of the guards are having an early lunch at a table at the end of the long corridor.

Through the security doors and down a few hallways Jacqueline van Wormer (’90, MA ’92)and her team sit at their desks looking up at a dry erase board with words detailing steps to help these residents and other young people in their community steer away from more time in custody. At the top of the board the team … » More …