State Legislature Considers Criminal Assistance Changes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

State Legislature Considers Criminal Assistance Changes

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - The state Senate wants to make it easier for prosecutors to convict people for helping criminals.

Lawmakers approved a plan Wednesday that would change the criminal assistance law. Republican Sen. Mike Carrell says people involved in helping criminal suspects could be charged even if they do not have specific knowledge about the exact crime that occurred.

Carrell says the bill was designed in response to the 2009 slaying of four Lakewood police officers. The sister of murderer Maurice Clemmons had been charged with rendering criminal assistance because prosecutors say she helped the getaway driver. Her conviction was thrown out on an appeal because prosecutors failed to prove she knew the driver was being sought as an accomplice.

The measure now heads to the state House.