Yakima County District Attorney Joe Brusic said he and other state attorneys were bracing for a battle in the next legislative session.
Brusic says he and other prosecutors won’t be silent in next session
When the session begins on January 10, Brusic will join Rep. Gina Mosbrucker in speaking out against a new bill that would reduce murder sentences resulting from drive-by shootings in Washington state. This is House Bill 1692 and it would eliminate shootouts as an aggravating factor in a first degree murder case. The bill would also apply retroactively and provide for the setting aside of previous convictions for aggravated first degree murder and the new conviction for first degree murder without the associated aggravating factor sentence.
Brusic says law has been used in Yakima at least 5 times
The measure was tabled on Friday, December 23 for introduction in the 2022 legislative session.One of the bill’s Democratic sponsors, Representative Tarra Simmons, said the aggravating factor for the drive-by shootings did not been used only once since its enactment in 1995. It also maintains that the law primarily targeted young gangs who were young and black. . But Yakima County District Attorney Joe Brusic says that’s just not true. He says the law has been used as an aggravating factor at least 5 times in Yakima and probably more times in other parts of the state.
Brusic says law was used against criminals in Yakima
Brusic also says the aggravating factor was used against criminal gangs who were mostly Hispanic and not young black gang members.
Brusic says state prosecutors fear losing this aggravating factor in shootout cases and plan to denounce the decision to remove it in the next legislative session.
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