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Let the Tyranny Commence - The Revenge Against Chiara D’Angelo Bill

By On
• In Bellingham,

I have usually been slow to criticize Doug Ericksen. I’ve watched him be a hard worker, showing up for issues on TV Washington, doing his homework, knowing his talking points and providing good constituent services. It’s not that I agree with him, but I know all those things take work that a lot of representatives just don’t do. Once, he was the only one of my entire representative delegation to bother responding to an issue I was working on - and he even helped me. I was impressed.

This time, he has crossed the line.

Did you ever wonder how the Nazis wrought such havoc worldwide - and did it all legally? It was exactly like this, with pre-filed bills pushing the social envelope while having a majority in place to approve them.

A famous poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”

Now they are coming for the environmentalists.

Ericksen wants to retrospectively impose “special allegations” with extra sentences, court supervision and triple damage restitution. In short, he would enable the system to visciously and interminably punish anyone standing for a cause that results in “economic disruption.”

Ericksen has pre-filed Senate Bill 5009 for the 2017 session, an amendment to RCW 9A.84, a statute governing criminal mischief, failure to disperse and disorderly conduct.

You have to read it to believe it, but as written Ericksen’s bill provides that:

- The prosecuting attorney may file a “special allegation” against criminal offenders on evidence of an “economic disruption.”

- When “the accused has been convicted” and the prosecutor has brought a “special allegation,” additional time, from 60 days to 12 months, may be added to the sentence.

- “Attempting to or causing an economic disruption” means intending to “Influence the policy of a government” or interfering with any vehicle engaged in commerce, especially any pipeline, oil terminal, tank car, vessel or power plant.

- “All terms of confinement…are mandatory, shall be served in total confinement, and shall run consecutively to all other sentencing provisions.”

- Anyone who “encourages…aids or agrees to aid” someone committing an “economic disruption” is deemed an accomplice - except law enforcement and anyone “investigating and reporting…to the proper authorities.”

This is especially strange:

- The amendments are intended to apply to “offenses committed after July 1, 1985.”

- For an offense “prior to July 1, 2000, the offender shall remain under the court’s jurisdiction for a term of ten years following the offender’s release from total confinement” or longer.

- For an offense after July 1, 2000, the court’s jurisdiction remains until the judgment is “completely satisfied, regardless of the statutory maximum for the crime.”

Then the punishment really begins:

- During the period of court supervision, “community corrections officers may examine the offender” to see if circumstances “warrant…amendment of the monthly payment schedule.”

- At any time under court supervision, “restitution may be modified as to amount, terms, and conditions…regardless of the statutory maximum sentence for the crime.”

- Although the amounts and terms can be modified at any time, “the court may not reduce the total amount of restitution ordered because the offender may lack the ability to pay.”

- “Restitution shall be ordered” even for “offenses which are not prosecuted pursuant to a plea agreement.”

- In the case where a “special allegation” is made against someone having caused an “economic disruption” the “restitution…may not exceed triple the amount of..the victim’s loss.”

Remember the woman on the chain, who by delaying the departure of, and bringing world attention to Shell’s ridiculously inadequate Arctic Challenger, caused a presidential ban against arctic drilling? That’s influencing government policy and interfering with a vessel. She’s in Ericksen’s “after July 1, 2000” group for which, should a prosecutor file a “special allegation,” up to triple damages must eventually be completely satisfied, regardless of the ability to pay or the statutory maximum sentence for the crime. It’s not life in prison. It’s life in hell. Ericksen’s bill would have a proportionally inverse and ironically chilling effect on civic involvement.

I’m just going to call it Ericksen’s Perpetual Persecution of Principled Action Act - or maybe the Revenge Against Chiara D’Angelo Bill. It makes me wonder what he would have sought for participants in the Boston Tea Party - or if he just hasn’t read any American History.

When they come for her, I will not be silent. If this bill passes, I will not become passive. I am an activist. When Ericksen, or the prosecutors he is attempting to enable come for me, I will be ready.

I hope you will be, too. I strongly recommend it.

Attached Files

About Tip Johnson

Writer • Member since Jan 11, 2008

Tip Johnson is a longtime citizen interest advocate with a record of public achievement projects for good government and the environment. A lifelong student of government, Tip served two terms [...]

Comments by Readers

John Servais

Dec 22, 2016

Naw.  I don’t think Ericksen intends this to become a law of the state.  This reads to me more like a job application with the Trump administration.  Hey, Donny, look at me. Don’t forget my getting you into the Lynden Fair for your speech last summer.   

Much of it is premised on a very clear unconstitutional process.  The idea of bringing prosecution to protests made in the past is called an “ex post facto” process.  A law ‘after the fact’ is very specifically forbidden in our US Constitution, Article 1, Section 9. “3. No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.”  Dougy seems to not know the basics of our national constitution.    Or, he is truly just applying for a job with Trump.

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David Camp

Dec 22, 2016

He’s planning ahead for when the Trump administration revives the Cherry POint coal dump. He wants to nip any local version of Standing Rock in the bud. This could get ugly.

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Sam Crawford

Dec 22, 2016

What was the final disposition of the D’Angelo case? Ralph Schwartz had a couple of features on it here, but haven’t heard how it ended up.

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Tip Johnson

Dec 23, 2016

Good question, Sam.  I think she got a fine.  I recall hearing something about being on the chain didn’t fit the statute, as compared to if she had boarded the vessel.  I’ll see if I can find out.  Maybe ralph already knows.

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Michael Riordan

Dec 23, 2016

Dougie is playing fast and loose with the word “terrorist.” By his standards, southerners would have called Rosa Parks a “transportation terrorist” back in the early 1960s. We cannot let him get away with his abuse of the English language.

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