Tag Archives: King County Executive Dow Constantine

One Year After First COVID-19 Outbreak, County Health Officials Cautiously Optimistic

by Andrew Engelson


Nearly one year after the first outbreak of COVID-19 in King County and the nation, public health officials and King County Executive Dow Constantine say they are cautiously optimistic about the spread of the virus. Effective prevention measures combined with slow but steadily increasing vaccinations have the potential to “put the pandemic in the rear view mirror,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Jeffrey Duchin in an online press briefing on Friday. But concerns remain, including the discovery of two new SARS-CoV-2 strains in the county, and pressure among those tiring of restrictions to let up on prevention strategies such as masking and limits on gatherings.In addition, inequitable access to vaccines remains a concern.

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King County Argued for In-Person Trial in Le Case, Despite Own COVID-19 Precautions

by Carolyn Bick


Tommy Le’s grandmother is in her 90s. Thanks to the fact that civil jury trials are currently being held virtually, to keep people safe in the novel coronavirus pandemic, she will be able to safely watch from home the civil trial against the man who killed her 20-year-old grandson in 2017.

But this would not have been the true if the judge presiding over the case had granted the request made by the lawyers for King County and Deputy Sheriff Cesar Molina for the trial to proceed in person.

Despite King County’s own Emergency Order halting all in-person civil jury trials until at least late March in order to keep people from catching the virus and developing COVID-19, lawyers for King County and Molina tried to argue that an in-person trial could be conducted safely. Though U.S. District Court Judge Thomas S. Zilly ultimately denied their request later that same day, King County’s and Molina’s lawyers pushed for an in-person trial regarding the shooting death of Vietnamese American student Tommy Le in a hearing held on Feb. 25, just a couple of days after health officials detected yet another novel coronavirus variant in King County and against the backdrop of vaccine predictions that appear to indicate that the vaccine won’t be available for everyone until at least July. The trial is set to begin in less than two months, on April 19.

Continue reading King County Argued for In-Person Trial in Le Case, Despite Own COVID-19 Precautions

A Hard Year for Those Without Shelter: Death Rates Rose and Pressures Increased for the Homeless During the Pandemic

by Ashley Archibald


In a video posted to YouTube, a woman in a blue surgical mask stands in the corner of a walled-off yard, a puffy, slate gray jacket zipped against the cold. To her right is a table draped with a white cloth holding 19 votive candle holders. Slowly, deliberately, the woman reads a list of names.

“Azhane Mitchell.”

“Charles Lingenfelter.”

“Christopher Mann.”

In the silence following each name, a man lights a candle.

Continue reading A Hard Year for Those Without Shelter: Death Rates Rose and Pressures Increased for the Homeless During the Pandemic

Taxpayers Partially on Hook for County’s, Deputy Sheriff’s, and Their Lawyers’ Delay Tactics in Le Case

by Carolyn Bick


Even for a seasoned lawyer like Phil Talmadge, the fine the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has leveled against King County, the King County Sheriff’s Office deputy who shot Tommy Le, and — in what Talmadge says is also an unusual move — their lawyers, is a surprisingly hefty one: $56,752.60.

“The federal appellate courts, like Washington State appellate courts … are reluctant to award sanctions for a frivolous appeal. It doesn’t happen commonly,” Talmadge said. “There really [has] to be … a pretty flagrantly frivolous appeal before a court imposes the kind sanctions the Ninth Circuit [Court of Appeals] imposed. … There has to be no legalistic basis for the appeal. And that’s essentially what the Ninth Circuit said.”

The sanctions are one of the latest legal moves in the ongoing civil rights case the Le family and their civil case lawyers have brought against the officer, then-Deputy Cesar Molina — now Deputy Sheriff Cesar Molina — and King County. Talmadge worked as the appeals lawyer with the Le family and their civil case lawyers in a motion for sanctions (a penalty); in this case, the more than $56,000 fine leveled against the defendants and their lawyers. The fine is the total amount of money the court found that the Le family has spent specifically to fight an appeal filed by Molina, King County, and their lawyers just prior to the commencement of their trial, an appeal the plaintiffs argued was a frivolous delay tactic.  

Continue reading Taxpayers Partially on Hook for County’s, Deputy Sheriff’s, and Their Lawyers’ Delay Tactics in Le Case

BREAKING: King County Jail System to Begin COVID Surveillance Testing on Incarcerated Adults

by Carolyn Bick


The King County Jail system will begin surveillance testing of its incarcerated adult population starting as soon as tomorrow, Jan. 13, according to an internal Jan. 12 email shared with the Emerald

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King County Commits $7 Million to Increased Vaccination Efforts, Won’t Change Jail COVID Protocols

by Carolyn Bick


King County will be committing $7 million to ramp up vaccination efforts to prevent against COVID-19, with two high-volume vaccination sites slated for South King County in the near future, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced in a public health briefing on Jan. 8.

Continue reading King County Commits $7 Million to Increased Vaccination Efforts, Won’t Change Jail COVID Protocols