OLYMPIA, Wash. — An Olympia man released from prison early under Washington's new drug possession rules was arrested again Saturday. He was freed just two days earlier on Thursday, April 15.
Thurston County deputies arrested Randall Taufetee early Saturday morning after they said he drove through neighborhoods at speeds approaching 120 mph.
According to deputies, when they caught up to Taufetee, he was smiling and told them, "Governor Inslee let me out of prison early and I wanted to have some fun."
Taufetee was one of 18 people serving prison time on drug possession convictions whose sentence was commuted by Inslee, resulting in early release.
In February, the state’s Supreme Court ruled the state’s felony drug possession law was unconstitutional.
“The governor rightfully used his authority to ensure that persons being detained pursuant to an unconstitutional law were released,” said Inslee spokesperson Mike Faulk.
Drug possession is a topic state legislators are dealing with entering the last week of the scheduled legislative session.
A bill making drug possession a gross misdemeanor, with an emphasis on treatment rather than jail time, passed out of the Senate and had a House committee hearing Monday.
Critics said the Taufetee case shows what can happen if someone goes unpunished.
”Unfortunately, I think we're going to see more of that,” said Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale.
Mosbrucker said she supports the move for treatment over incarceration, but said communities would not be able to handle those who need help.
“We're going to see people get out without infrastructure in place in order to get them the help they need. And I'm worried about the safety of our communities,” said Mosbrucker. “Just like the gentleman who was driving 120 plus miles an hour, because he could."