by Megan Burbank
In response to outrage over Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal earlier this month, President Biden was among many voices insisting that “[t]he jury system works, and we have to abide by it.” The day of Rittenhouse’s acquittal, Twitter was flooded with posts urging people upset by the verdict to embrace jury duty as a solution.
I understand where this sentiment comes from. I also used to think the jury system worked — that taking on your civic duty with systemic inequity in mind could help mitigate injustice.
Until I actually served on a jury.
Continue reading OPINION: Jury Duty Is Not the Solution to Trials Like Kyle Rittenhouse’s
by Erica C. Barnett
Last week, a 35-year-old man who had been released from jail less than one week earlier attacked a county employee in a women’s restroom at the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle. The assailant, a Level 1 sex offender with a history of attacking women, told detectives he had smoked “homemade meth” immediately before the attack. A police report filed after the incident indicates the attacker, who is a person experiencing homelessness, may suffer from mental illness.
The particulars of this case might lead a reasonable person to conclude that people who commit sex offenses need closer monitoring once they’re released from custody, along with access to housing and mental health care to prevent them from reoffending once they’re released.
Instead, the assault became a symbol for conservative officials, who suggested “solutions” that included sweeping dozens of homeless people from a nearby encampment and directing women to change the way they behave in public.
Continue reading OPINION: Courthouse Assault a Symptom of Failing Systems, Not Individuals
by Marcus Harrison Green
(This column is co-published with The Seattle Times)
Yonas Seifu and Devon Adams have desperately sought wholesale healing from a justice system capable of supplying them only scraps.
In 2006, Seifu nearly died after a bullet randomly struck him in the head while he sat on the couch at a Lake City house party hosted by University of Washington fraternity brothers.
Continue reading OPINION: Why Can’t Justice Punish and Heal at the Same Time?