A measure to amend the state constitution’s provisions for bail will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday, the deadline for non-budget bills to be voted out of committees in the House and Senate.
House Joint Resolution 4220, also known as the Lakewood Police Officers’ Memorial Act, would give judges more discretion when considering bail for violent criminals. When a suspect is possibly facing a sentence of life in prison, regardless of history, the judge could deny bail under the Act.
The sponsor of the resolution, Rep. Mike Hope, who also serves as a Seattle police officer, has been working very closely with legislators from both sides of the aisle and across the rotunda in the Senate.
“I have concerns the measure will be changed from action to studies,” said Hope, R-Lake Stevens. “We don’t need to study this further. The governor and law enforcement community studied the issue and realized our bail provisions have weakened over the years and should be strengthened. It’s important to note this bill will not change a person’s right to a fair trial or the presumption of innocence. This only says that if a judge determines a suspect could be dangerous if released into the community, we aren’t willing to take that risk.”
A Senate measure, which also would address bail provisions, has not been scheduled for a House hearing.
“I believe the Senate proposal is dead, so it’s very important we keep the House bill moving,” Hope said. “The law enforcement community has all their support behind this and the citizens of this state expect us to show we will act on the lessons learned from the Lakewood tragedy.”
Hope said he was glad the bill is still moving through the Legislature.
“People have the right to be safe in their neighborhoods, coffee shops and homes,” Hope said. “This measure ensures suspects charged with the most heinous crimes, and are determined to be dangerous by a judge, will not have an opportunity to go back out into the community and harm our families. When a suspect has nothing to lose, our communities have nothing to gain.”
Contact: Sarah Lamb, public information officer, (360) 786-7720