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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

September 24, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Seattle judge dismisses 100 tickets for public pot use

A Seattle Municipal Court judge has dismissed 100 tickets for public use of marijuana, many written by a police officer described as having a political agenda.

Judge Fred Bonner signed the orders Wednesday at the request of the City Attorney’s Office, which on Tuesday filed 22 motions to dismiss for those who had paid the $27 fine and 78 for those who had defaulted.

On Monday, City Attorney Pete Holmes announced he planned to seek the dismissals of all tickets written during the first seven months of the year, even those not issued by the officer, because it was “cleanest and most efficient thing to do” to remedy the officer’s actions.

Bicycle officer Randy Jokela wrote at least 66 of 86 tickets issued in the first six months of the year, which was discovered during a Police Department study, and the majority of 14 tickets issued in July, according to city officials.

On many of the tickets, Jokela added a notation referring to “Petey Holmes,” who actively supported Initiative 502, which legalized pot smoking in 2012 but barred public use.

Bonner, in the interest of justice, vacated judgments against those who paid tickets and for those who defaulted.

Those who paid will receive a refund from the court within 20 business days, according to Gary Ireland, the court’s public information officer.

If any of the defaulted citations have been referred to collections, these will be recalled and any funds paid will be refunded, Ireland said in an email.

Jokela’s actions remain under review by Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, who is considering a three-day suspension without pay of Jokela and a one-day suspension without pay of his sergeant, according to a police source familiar with the matter.

Comments | More in General news, Government, The Blotter | Topics: City Attorney Pete Holmes, Seattle Municipal Court, Seattle Police Department

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