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Seattle considers ‘poverty defense’ for misdemeanor crimes

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The Seattle City Council is considering a law that would excuse misdemeanor crimes if the offense can be linked to poverty, mental health, and addiction, KUOW-TV reported.

The proposal would allow judges and juries the option to dismiss misdemeanor crimes that were committed because of poverty or while a person was experiencing symptoms of a mental illness or substance abuse disorder.

The proposed legislation would exclude misdemeanors related to domestic violence and impaired driving.

If passed, it would make Seattle the first city in the nation to excuse misdemeanor offenses linked to poverty, addiction and mental illness.

“In a situation where you took that sandwich because you were hungry and you were trying to meet your basic need of satisfying your hunger, we as a community will know that we should not punish that. That conduct is excused,” Anita Khandelwal, King County director of public defense, told KUOW-TV.

Former Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess opposes the proposal and called it a “defense lawyer’s dream,” KOUW reported.

“It sends this powerful signal that as a city government, we don’t really care about this type of criminal behavior in our city,” Burgess said.

The Seattle Police Department said they will continue to hold those accountable who commit crimes and that the proposed legislation “seems intent on eliminating any accountability or deterrent to engaging in these behaviors and would endanger the safety and rights of all people of Seattle.”

In a statement to Seattle Times, the police department said “officers will continue to focus on holding individuals accountable who commit one of the thousands of assaults or thefts that occur in our community each year.”

This proposed legislation comes as crime rates in Seattle rise. Protests have been ongoing in the city, including the Capitol Hill Occupied Zone protests, which was an occupation protest and self-declared autonomous zone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle that lasted 150 days.

Cities and states across the nation are reevaluating police policies as protests and demonstrators demand for change.

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Immigration

Texas has raised over $55 million from private donations to secure border, build a wall

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As of September 12, the state of Texas has raised a little over $55 million in private donations, to secure the southern border and build a wall. “While securing the border is the federal government’s responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows. Texas is responding with the most robust and comprehensive border plan the nation has ever seen,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement.

“The State of Texas is working collaboratively with communities impacted by the border crisis to arrest and detain individuals coming into Texas illegally,” Abbott’s statement reads. “Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs, and provide Texans with the support they need and deserve.”

In addition to finding money for a border wall, Abbott has signed legislation which designated Mexican drug cartels as domestic terrorists, and has called on President Joe Biden to do the same.

“Fentanyl is a clandestine killer, and Texans are falling victim to the Mexican cartels that are producing it,” said Governor Abbott in a statement. “Cartels are terrorists, and it’s time we treated them that way. In fact, more Americans died from fentanyl poisoning in the past year than all terrorist attacks across the globe in the past 100 years. In order to save our country, particularly our next generation, we must do more to get fentanyl off our streets.”

“As of now, Biden has not responded to Abbott’s request to designate Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations” reports Just The News.

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