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.
The only thing that appears to be standing in the way of the Washington State Office of the Attorney General or the United States Department of Justice bringing criminal charges against the King County Sheriff’s Office for its handling of the 2017 shooting death of Tommy Le is a phone call from either King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg or Gov. Jay Inslee.
But it is a phone call that, as of this writing, will likely not be placed any time soon.
While the Le family attorneys also object to Inslee’s silence on the matter, this story will examine their contention that there exists a major problem within the King County Prosecutor’s Office (KCPO) — specifically, that the KCPO faces a conflict of interest in its decision to reserve the right to bring criminal charges against the deputy who shot Le — criminal charges that could negatively impact King County, the very client KCPO is defending in the ongoing federal civil rights suit regarding Le’s death.
Dancing, forceful chants, and a plethora of honking cars marked the morning of Saturday, Nov. 7 as Seattleites on Capitol Hill celebrated the start of a new American era following the announcement of a Biden victory and the election of the first Woman of Color as vice president. The monumental day was also an occasion for continued protests for BLM marchers across town. The day’s combination of revelry and activism took a dark turn in the evening, however, with a fatal shooting in the early hours on Sunday.
Joined by several community leaders, Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best addressed two weekendshootings that claimed the life of a 19-year-old Black teen and wounded two others in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP).
In the June 22 press conference, Durkan and Best committed to working with different Black-led community organizations, including Community Passageways and Not This Time. Durkan said that she will be introducing a 2020 budget rebalancing plan that will make a point to invest in the Black community, in order to enhance public safety. In the name of both equity and public safety, Durkan also committed $5 million for mentoring and summer learning for Black youth.
She also said that police officers responded to almost 17,000 emergency calls within the last nine months, and that her budget process will examine the police budget. She said that police only respond “because the other systems in society have failed,” and that what the city needs is for certain services, like mental health workers or community-based workers, to be available to respond to some emergency calls.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office today filed one count of Assault in the First Degree (a class A felony) against Nikolas Alexander Fernandez in the shooting of Daniel Gregory on Sunday, June 7. The investigation into the shooting and the events that led up to it is still underway. An arraignment for Nikolas Fernandez is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on June 24 at the King County Courthouse.
Nikolas Alexander Fernandez, who shot a protester on 11th Ave at East Pine Street on Sunday, June 7 had his first court appearance today after being arrested Sunday night. According to Casey McNerthney with the King County Prosecutor’s Office (KCPO), the KCPO asked a judge to hold Fernandez on $350,000 bail. The judge then set his bail at $200,000, but after his family spoke about his community ties and inability to pay, the judge lowered his bail to $150,000.
Fernandez’s second appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, June 10 at 2:30 p.m.
Daniel Gregory, a Black Seattle man, was shot at a protest (inspired by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers) while trying to defend other protestors after an armed man drove his car through a throng of protesters in Capitol Hill before jumping out of the vehicle brandishing a weapon in a crowd of innocent bystanders, a surreal moment that occurred during another night of protests, Seattle police said. The shooter has been identified as Nikolas Alexander Fernandez by the King County Prosecutor’s Office. His court hearing was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today.
More than a thousand people crowded into Temple De Hirsch Sinai while at least as many filled the street outside the synagogue during a vigil for the 11 people killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, October 27.