Experience, outside legal costs at heart of race for Seattle City Attorney

October 26, 2017 / Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times

“Holmes recalled a case from earlier this year: A 19-year-old African-American man with no criminal history was pulled over by a police officer at 1 a.m. for driving without his headlights. The officer thought he smelled pot, so obtained a warrant to draw the man’s blood, which came back with 1 nanogram of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, per milliliter of blood.

The legal limit for drivers is 5 nanograms per milliliter, but it’s illegal for anyone under 21 to use marijuana, Holmes said.

“There was no accident, no lane violation, no nothing,” Holmes said of the case that could have resulted in jail time for the 19-year-old.

An assistant city attorney declined to file the misdemeanor charge, but then filed it after the cop who pulled the man over “raised hell,” Holmes said. The man’s stepfather brought the case to Holmes’ attention; he then signed the dismissal order himself.

“I took the prosecutor aside and said, ‘I want you to have the courage of your convictions,’ ” Holmes said. “This (case) helped no one to proceed to trial.'”