Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic says he and other state prosecutors are preparing for a battle this next legislative session.

Brusic says he and other prosecutors won't be silent in the next session

When the session starts on January 10 Brusic will join Rep. Gina Mosbrucker will be speaking out against a new bill that would reduce penalties for murder resulting from drive-by shootings in Washington state. It's House Bill 1692 and it would eliminate drive-by shooting as an aggravating factor in a first-degree murder case. The bill would also apply retroactively and provide for the vacation of previous convictions for aggravated first-degree murder, and resentencing for first-degree murder without the penalty associated with the aggravating factor.

Brusic says the law has been used in Yakima at least 5 times

The measure was prefiled on Friday, Dec. 23 for introduction in the 2022 legislative session. one of the democratic sponsors of the bill, Rep. Tarra Simmons says the aggravating factor for drive-by shootings has only been used once since being made law in 1995. She also maintains the law was mainly aimed at young gangs who were young and black. But Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic says that's simply not true. He says the law has been used as an aggravating factor at least 5 times in Yakima and likely more times in other parts of the state.

Brusic says the law has been used against criminals in Yakima

Brusic also says the the aggravating factor has been used against criminal gangs who were mostly Hispanic not young black gang members.
Brusic says prosecutors around the state are concerned about losing this aggravating factor in drive-by shooting cases and plan to speak out against the move to remove it in the next legislative session.

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