After a crazed man killed four Seattle-area police officers last year, many in the community felt terrified and powerless, says the Seattle Times. Because of a constitutional amendment on the November ballot, they will have a chance to exercise some power: deciding how certain risky defendants will be funneled through the judicial system. Maurice Clemmons, who had a violent criminal history, faced four felony charges and possibly life in prison when he was bailed out of jail. Six days later, he assassinated four officers.
Voters will be presented a constitutional amendment that would allow a judge to deny bail to persons charged with an offense punishable by life in prison such as a third-strike felony, rape of a child, murder or other serious crimes. Before denying bail, a judge must also find clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has a propensity for violence and poses a likely danger to the public. Seattle University law Prof. Robert Boruchowitz said amending the state constitution won’t prevent another police shooting. “It’s an overreaction to  a tragic event,” he said. “It’s a bad idea because it would expand the number of people in jail, even though they’re presumed innocent.”