OLYMPIA, WA – A convicted felon turned lawyer who later turned into a state legislator in Washington state recently drafted a bill that would lower sentencing for murderers who committed their crime via doing a drive-by shooting. And per the language of the bill, this is meant to promote “racial equity.”

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According to the Washington State Legislature online portal, House Bill 1692 was pre-filed on December 23rd, poising it to be considered during the 2022 legislative session. Said bill is sponsored by Democrat Representatives David Hackney and, most notably, 44-year-old Tarra Simmons, who’d previously been sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2011 for drug and theft convictions.

After Simmons served her time in prison, she attended law school, worked at an NPO for a couple of years, and then ran and got elected to the state legislature back in 2020. Rep. Simmons is unsurprisingly an advocate for criminal justice reform, specifically the soft-on-crime version of said activism.

And that soft-on-crime approach really shows itself with her sponsored bill, HB 1692.

According to the opening of the bill text, the proposed legislation aims to reduce the sentencing for murderers who killed their victim(s) during a drive-by shooting, claiming that doing so would help promote “racial equity.”

“AN ACT Relating to promoting racial equity in the criminal legal system by eliminating drive-by shooting as a basis for elevating murder in the first degree to aggravated murder in the first degree,” the bill states, “amending RCW 10.95.020 and 10.95.020; creating a new section; providing an effective date; and providing an expiration date.”

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It’s frankly unclear how Rep. Simmons arrived at the notion that lowering the sentence of murderers committed via drive-by shootings would somehow promote “racial equity,” that is, unless she’s tacitly implying that certain racial demographics are more prone to committing drive-by shootings.

But the rationale for treating drive-by shootings that result in death as an aggravated murder makes perfect sense, as there are no shortage of reports where drive-by shootings frequently result in innocent/unaffiliated parties being killed.

The difference between the sentencing guidelines for first-degree murder and aggravated first-degree murder are significant, as a first-degree murder conviction carries a “maximum of life without the possibility of parole,” meaning the murderer can obtain a more lenient sentence. Whereas with aggravated first-degree murder, it is a mandatory life sentence without parole.

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