Seattle ‘Poverty Defense’ Would See Some Crimes To Go Unpunished


“In a situation where you took that sandwich because you were hungry and you were trying to meet your basic need of satisfying your hunger; we as the community will know that we should not punish that. That conduct is excused,” Khandelwal said.

“The defendant would just have to prove that the needs fit within the definition of immediate basic need,” Asha Venkataraman, who sits on the council’s Central Staff, told the Public Safety Committee.

This is astonishing. Absolutely mind-blowing. To think that this is even being considered in a major American city is absurd.

“It’s giving people an opportunity to tell their stories and giving judges and juries the opportunity to hear those stories and make a decision based on the values of our city,” Herbold said.

Their stories? What about the stories of the store owner who has rent, employees, and bills to pay who gets robbed because the city says it is OK?

What’s more, is that City Attorney Pete Holmes sent a letter to the Council affirming that his office is already doing some of what the poverty defense calls for.