Rantz: Seattle Judge Lisa Paglisotti keeps releasing dangerous suspects from jail
Judge Lisa Paglisotti may be Seattle’s most lenient judge, routinely releasing suspects accused of serious crimes on their own personal recognizance. That also makes her decisions dangerous.
In just the last week, Paglisotti released another three suspects: one for a high-profile drug ring and another two for armed robbery.
The judge, a former public defender, has a history of releasing dangerous suspects. It’s unclear what it takes to keep criminals in jail when they appear in front of her.
UPDATE: After I published my story on the judge, the office of the King County District Court Chief Presiding Judge Susan Mahoney reached out hoping to discuss the issue and we happily obliged. She disagrees with my assessment and wanted to provide more context, including some thoughts on the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Judge Lisa Paglisotti releases drug dealing suspect
Seattle Police arrested three men for allegedly running what appears to be a drug ring out of homeless tents in Pioneer Square.
Andre Duhon is one of the suspects and he is a past offender.
After executing a search warrant, officers recovered a loaded revolver, switchblade and pellet gun, over $1,200 in cash and approximately 139.2 grams of methamphetamine, 6.8 grams of crack cocaine, 3.7 grams of heroin and several oxycodone pills.
When Duhon was searched, officers found him in possession of over $200 in loose bills (indicative of narcotics trafficking), 37.3 grams of marijuana, 134.8 grams of meth, and 2.7 grams of cocaine.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office asked for bail at $10,000, arguing a probable case for drug possession with the intent to deliver. They also argued that he was unlikely to reappear in court.
Judge Paglisotti didn’t seem to care. She released him on his own personal recognizance, despite a previous charge of assault last year. That case is still ongoing.
Several weeks ago, Paglisotti treated another drug dealer the same way.
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.
Paglisotti released him on his own personal recognizance.
Judge Lisa Paglisotti releases robbery suspects
Rafael Meyers and Jerry Plute are accused of multiple robberies at a strip mall in West Seattle. When officers arrived, it was clear that someone had broken into Wyatt’s Jewelers. They found a hole in the wall, which explains how the suspects allegedly got into the building. The store’s co-owner said her handgun, which she keeps at the store, was missing.
At nearby Sports Clips, officers indicate they saw signs of a burglary.
When the officers searched the perimeter for the suspects, they saw Meyers and Plute exiting a business they shouldn’t have been in. Officers noticed what appeared to be sheetrock powder on their clothing. Both fled.
According to the incident report, when officers caught up with and arrested Meyers, they conducted a search and found pickpocket tools and a knife. At the precinct, Meyers told detectives he’d help them recover the gun if they promised to release him. They did not oblige.
Plute fled but was caught after a three-hour long search, with the help of SWAT. Upon search, they didn’t find any weapons — only a flashlight, keys, a battery and a drill bit.
Prosecutors charged both suspects and asked for $10,000 bail for Meyers, since he was suspected of stealing and hiding the handgun, and $1,000 for Plute.
Both were released by the judge on their personal recognizance. The gun has not yet been located.
Weeks ago, Paglisotti released two other dangerous suspects: one was a man who was arrested for shooting an illegally manufactured firearm, and another was a suspect who admitted to partaking in the violent inauguration day Antifa vandalism in downtown Seattle.
Judge Paglisotti is a friend to criminals
Paglisotti is a former public defender, which explains her light-on-crime approach to dangerous criminals. Seattle is experiencing a rise in deadly drug overdoses and violent crime.
But she doesn’t seem to care much, routinely releasing dangerous criminals back onto the streets.
It’s unclear why Paglisotti keeps releasing these suspects without bail. Does she believe in the cash bail system, or is she an ideologue who hopes to get rid of the practice? Under what circumstances does she use bail as a tool to help keep criminals off the streets?
The judge did not respond to a request for comment. She never does. And that’s part of the problem. Judges like this hope to avoid scrutiny, but these decisions have consequences.
Paglisotti is one reason why Seattle is deteriorating so quickly. When criminals know they can get a judge like Paglisotti, they are more apt to break the law. After all, there are seldom consequences.
Paglisotti makes the community less safe and the public has a right to know what goes into her decisions. But she doesn’t think you have that right. You should politely contact her and ask for some answers.
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