Prosecutor Eric Richey

Ending a 600 word opinion piece in the March 19th edition of The Bellingham Herald.. Prosecutor Eric Richey of Whatcom County states:“I urge the legislature to pass this bill and continue working in future sessions to decriminalize poverty by eliminating the remaining paths to suspending driver’s licenses, such as missing hearings related to payment plans, that are NOT covered within SB 5226.” (see below for Bill Status)

  Some local sources wonder about decriminalization juxtaposed to the “Rule of Law”.  And whether enforcement and punishment should be “Means” tested.  Who should have the resulting assignment of figuring who should and should not be charged with crime and punished, if guilty.  Should the Prosecutor’s office be the place where the defendant is measured to be above or below the poverty level. (see below for some definitions of Rule of Law)


In 2019 two Democrats ran for prosecutor in Whatcom County as “reformer’s” of the

County Courthouse

Justice System.  The backing of SB 5226 seems to be one of the “reform” efforts that Prosecutor Richey favors.

In the opinion piece by Prosecutor Eric Richey he states that he wants to relieve the Prosecutor’s office from dealing with Suspended License fines by decriminalizing said suspensions thru Senate Bill(SB) 5226.  This bill is currently in committee in the  State House after passing in the Senate… Status and Bill Documents Here
The prosecutor’s opinion piece appears on the Bellingham Herald Opinion Page here.

On Social Media Senator Doug Ericksen of the 42nd Legislative district Voices the following concerns as well.

“I do not know if Eric wrote this himself, or if this is a stock op ed put out by the liberal

Sen Doug Ericksen

leftists–but there are some interesting items in it:

  • He opens with the term “crimes against the state”. He puts this ahead of crimes against citizens.
  • He goes on to say that the courts should not be debt collectors. Then who should be in charge of enforcing laws that require people to pay their debts? Should that be up to private citizens to create their own courts?
  • The Prosecutor tries to make it sound like our prisons are crowded with people arrested for driving with suspended driver’s license. I would wager that there are very few people in jail solely on the charge of driving with a suspended license.
  • The Prosecutor also seems to claim that our roads will be safer if we allow people to drive with a suspended license or if we do not allow licenses to be suspended.
The Senator adds:
  • “How can a person have enough money own a car, pay for insurance, pay for fuel (which Democrats are trying to massively increase) (Eric Richey is a democrat) and pay for maintenance BUT not have enough money to pay modest monetary fines for violations.
  • Democrats in Olympia are trying to legalize hard drugs (through the courts), let people convicted of violent crimes out of jail, and to not have a process in place to hold people accountable who break laws.
It is an interesting vision for Washington state.”
Senator Doug Ericksen

“The Rule of Law”

U.S Courts: Rule of law is a principle under which all persons, institutions, and entities are accountable to laws that are: Publicly promulgated. Equally enforced. Independently adjudicated. And consistent with international human rights principles.

A history of the term Wikipedia… The Rule of Law 

The World Justice Project… The Rule of Law Just” Laws
The laws are clear, publicized, and stable; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and contract, property, and human rights.

Comments are most welcome.  Is decriminalizing the way we should reform our justice system and protect our citizens?  Please let us know.