JASON RANTZ

Rantz: As crimes surge, Seattle judge releases dangerous suspects without bail

Dec 16, 2020, 7:29 PM | Updated: Dec 17, 2020, 5:24 am

As Seattle crimes surge, one district judge released a pair of dangerous suspects without even requiring bail. One is a repeat offender.

Judge Lisa Paglisotti is a proponent of giving criminals second chances. It seems that may extend to suspects accused of flooding our neighborhoods with deadly drugs or firing illegally obtained weapons.

And in Seattle, a “second chance” is usually code for endless opportunities to re-offend and victimize innocent Seattleites.

Seattle judge releases dangerous suspected drug dealer

Seattle has a serious drug problem, and Judge Paglisotti arguably made it worse.

Thanks to policies by Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, the city and county have effectively legalized hard drugs. Neither office will prosecute drug possession, making it more difficult for police to track down drug dealers. Without the threat of jail time to hang over an addict, officers have little leverage to get information on who supplied them with their heroin or meth.

Still, Seattle police were able to track down a man they say was ready to sell a “significant amount of methamphetamine” and other drugs to vulnerable addicts.

After setting up a drug deal in Ballard, officers arrested Thorbjorn Lavern Thoresen. Seattle police say they found a ton of product in his backpack: 176 grams of meth, 66 doses of Suboxone (which is sometimes sold as a heroin substitute), 10 grams of heroin, and five grams of mushrooms. They also found over $1,300 in cash and a number of debit cards in other people’s names.

After presenting details of their investigation, the prosecutor wanted Thoresen held. Instead, Paglisotti released him on his own personal recognizance. She did not respond to repeated requests for comment to explain her rationale.

Judge gives pass to repeat offender illegal weapon possession

Seattle officers were able to recover a stolen vehicle from Federal Way in the International District. In doing so, they also took an illegally manufactured firearm off the streets.

When officers questioned Eugenio Balmores leaning against the stolen vehicle, they say he admitted to holding a homemade firearm known as a slam gun.

Balmores also explained he fired test shots from the slam gun under the nearby overpass. Officers confiscated the weapon along with shotgun shells.

This isn’t the first time Balmores got into legal trouble. The King County Prosecutor’s Office confirms he was prosecuted in 2018 for a vehicle prowl case. He pleaded guilty.

Police objected to Balmores being released and the prosecutor asked for $10,000 bail. Again, Paglisotti released him on his own personal recognizance and did not respond to repeated requests for comment to explain her rationale.

Who is this judge?

Paglisotti is a former King County public defender of 22 years, which likely explains her eagerness to release criminals.

“Judges have discretion in therapeutic courts,” she told For the Defense when she was appointed. “I feel I’ll be able to help people.”

Is she helping? Therapeutic courts allow suspects to avoid traditional criminal or civil trials so they can seek treatment services to tackle the underlying cause related to their crime.

Seattle judges routinely punt on punishing criminals, instead pushing them to services they won’t use. Instead, they return to breaking the law, victimizing innocent civilians, while the judges pretend they’ve done some good. All they’ve done is make the city more dangerous for its residents, while keeping the criminal on their dead end path.

Judge Paglisotti holds blame in the area’s growing crime rates

Often, I spend my time focused on politicians crafting dangerous policies that lead to increased crime. They should get called out. That won’t change.

Too often, however, I don’t focus on the judges releasing criminals. They should get called out. And they will.

We’re seeing an increase in crime, and a decrease in both policing and prosecution. When we actually have police allowed to do their jobs and a prosecutor actually willing to prosecute, it seems outrageous for a judge to simply release suspects back into a community that they’re accused of victimizing.

Had those drugs been distributed, how many lives would have been ruined? If the illegal gun was still in circulation being fired, could it have killed a child?

Paglisotti should publicly explain why she let both suspects out of jail with limited hurdles. Is there a good reason? Could we have some bogus COVID-related concern? Maybe this is just a judge who keeps releasing criminals to re-offend?

The public deserves answers. And until we get them, I’ll highlight the judges making these decisions.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, and Parler and like me on Facebook

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Rantz: As crimes surge, Seattle judge releases dangerous suspects without bail