Backholme’s WSBA ID number is 36877.  He was admitted to the bar November 14, 2005 and is listed as an active member.

The reason I checked was because he frequently either misunderstands the law, or willfully misrepresents it (I can’t tell which).  His most recent embarrassing misstatement is about SB 5952, the law adding gender identity and expression to Washington’s hate crimes law.  Governor Gregoire just signed the bill into law on April 22nd.

Special protection for ‘political reasons’

Charlie Butts – OneNewsNow – 4/25/2009

“[The bill] provides not necessarily additional protection, but it would give a slightly higher penalty to a person guilty of malicious harassment toward a person who is transgendered for the reason of being transgendered,” [Joseph Backholm] says.

Making it really an enhanced version of existing law, says Backholm.

“Everything in the malicious harassment statute is already illegal — it doesn’t matter who you do it to,” the family advocate explains. “This is just a statute that provides additional protections to other classes of persons presumably for political reasons.”

Now first off, the hate crimes law protects religious people as a class too.  I’ve never heard Joeseph complain about that.  Second, not a peep out of him about this bill while it was before the legislature.  Did he testify?  Senate Judiciary Committee video here.  Testimony on this bill starts about 27 minutes in.

“There is no opposition to this bill” said Mr. Chair.

By the way, writer Charlie Butts goes on to state dimwittedly:

The law creates different classes of people depending on who the crime is committed against. For example, one could rob their grandmother — which is obviously a crime — but would pay a higher penalty if they robbed someone who is transgendered.

We all already know that it’s not the reality of the victim’s religion, race, sex, sexual orientation or handicap that is of concern to this law, but rather the criminal’s use of terrorism against one of those classes of people by stating so while committing the crime.  Big diff.  If you rob your trans grandma but stay mum about her being trans (or Catholic, or blind, etc.), there will be no hate crimes penalty.

His statement on Federal Hate Crimes bill.

Laurel Ramseyer

Laurel Ramseyer