A measure aimed at reducing violence and improving public safety in Washington’s courthouses, sponsored and advocated by Sen. Joe Fain along with Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson, was signed today by Gov. Jay Inslee during a ceremony at the state Capitol. The bill was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives during the 2013 regular legislative session with broad bipartisan support.
“When people visit our court system, whatever the reason, they deserve to know they’re entering a safe environment,” said Fain. “Due to the nature of legal proceedings our courts bring in many people who could be grieving over an incident, concerned about a specific case, or just there to support their friends and families. The last thing they should have to be thinking about is their own safety.”
The bill extends additional protections to all visitors of courthouses statewide by increasing the penalty for assault within a courthouse and allowing judges to consider the location of possible crimes as a sentencing factor.
Ferguson said Senate Floor Leader and sponsor of the measure, Senator Fain, played an important role in moving this legislation forward.
“I’d like to thank all the legislators, including Senator Fain, who voted to add new protections for the thousands of jurors, crime victims, defendants and family members across our state who access Washington courts,” Ferguson said. “People should feel safe when they access the courts—no matter whether they are a judge or a juror.”
Kent, which Fain represents in the state Senate, is home to King County’s Regional Justice Center, which houses superior and district courts.