Free House or Death Sentence?

Free House or Death Sentence? Washington State judges often state “[n]o body gets a free house in Washington” before sentencing people to be deprived of their shelter and ordering sheriffs to evict them into the streets. Such staged remarks suggest their ignorance or bias with regard to the issue before them; which is whether equity and Washington’s Constitution allows them to impose the equivalent of a criminal punishment under the circumstances of each case. The consequences of judicial decrees ordering persons evicted from their homes into the streets include death, reduced life expectancy, chronic illness, and loss of liberty. Our courts do not have the authority to impose these types of punishments on people who have not committed heinous crimes, such as murder or egregious felonies. Nonetheless, Washington judges continue to hand out the equivalent of death sentences, notwithstanding Washington’s Constitution prohibits affording special privileges to the wealthy and imposing criminal penalties on debtors. Under both the U.S. and Washington Constitutions, when such deadly results can be imposed upon on a party appearing before the court, it requires careful scrutiny to see that procedures are fully conforming to both the spirit and the letter of the law. Other states’ high courts have risen up to address proven improprieties of foreclosing entities  attempting to debt-collect otherwise uncollectible loans. In the words of Hawaii’s former Governor John Waihee (1986-94), “Our courts should not be collection agencies for crooks”. (Compare with the “free house” philosophy in Washington). Let’s get real. For most persons being evicted from … Continue Reading

A brother’s eulogy

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A brother’s eulogy: In memoriam to Todd Martin Stafne — August 24, 1950 – April 11, 2017 Todd Martin Stafne passed away the morning of April 11, 2017 in Bellevue, Washington. He grew up in Bettendorf, Iowa. He traveled extensively throughout the world before 1992, when he moved to the Pacific Northwest and made it home. Todd is survived by his beloved wife, Mayumi, and an older brother, Scott. This is Scott’s eulogy to Todd:   Since I was 18 months old there has always been a Todd in my world. The last time I heard from my brother was in an email he wrote me at 4:58 am the morning he died giving me his thoughts on a legal document I had written. When I saw the email, I thought “Boy, he’s up early…” But then I knew, getting up early is kind of a “Stafne” thing. Little did I know then that in a few hours he he would be gone. Sometimes we forget how fragile life is. It can pass in a moment. There are much worse ways to go. Words can’t do justice to Todd. He was like a “force of nature”. To those who knew him well, the best description of him was simply “Todd.”  Back in High School they called him “Big T.” Of course, I never did. He was just my kid brother. I didn’t realize then how significant a “life tie” that connection is. There are so many things I loved about him. Todd … Continue Reading

Todd Martin Stafne, My Brother’s Life In Pictures – Aug 24, 1950 – April 11, 2017

Blue Haiku 4 111.7 Tsunami heart, waves blue soliloquy within spring Viking bells, blooms, soul Northwest Vault of the Cosmos Wind Water muse riff. (by anne amerson @ art ranch of texas, 4.11.17; 1 p.m. CST; full moon) “…in between words, in between thoughts, in between the cracks,  navigating is best met with non-resistence and whispers…. the web of nowhere will not respond favorably to surrender nor to gross movements…imagine a sign SPATIAL DISTORTION: DO NOT SHOUT NOR BE PASSIVE!  …free falling is outside or between the realms of existence. ..it is real and assumes many meanings which may not represent our understanding or beliefs…heightened acute  awareness which may or may not be existential…having slipped between the worlds there is a blessing of a sort, and a partual return may be possible, depending upon the aperture of our minds. we swim constantly in infinite possibilities…but HUMAN beings want control…loss of control makes us feel vulnerable, but this is a double edge comfort zone…we dwell in a zone between real and illusion most of the time…it is as if in this information age a funnel  is stuck into our heads and we all suffer from intellectual indigestion..”  by Todd Martin Stafne 2009. Todd  has been both friend and moody muse  blue since we were teens of the 60s. Mostly quiet. Our bond was that of family friend in the Midwest. I was “older sister.” He was both cherry blossom and warrier with a gift of global insight that startled and mesmerized … Continue Reading