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Prosecutor to drop all Seattle marijuana tickets

SEATTLE - Seattle's elected prosecutor says he's dropping all tickets issued for the public use of marijuana through the first seven months of this year, because most of them were issued by a single police officer who disagrees with the legal pot law.

In a briefing to the City Council on Monday, City Attorney Pete Holmes said he is moving to dismiss approximately 100 tickets issued by the Seattle Police Department between Jan. 1 and July 31. His office also said it would be seeking a refund for those who have already paid their $27 ticket.

Through the first six months of the year, a single officer wrote about 80 percent of the tickets, addressing some of them to "Petey Holmes" or writing that he considered the pot law "silly."

The officer, Randy Jokela, is now under official investigation by the department's Office of Professional Accountability.

In one ticket, the officer wrote that he found two people smoking marijuana and made them flip a coin to decide which person would be cited.

"(Suspect) lost the coin flip so he got the ticket while the other person walked. (Suspect) was allowed to keep his pipe," the ticket reads.

In another ticket, the officer referred to Washington's voter-enacted changes to marijuana laws as "silly," according to Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole.

Jokela was temporarily reassigned but is now back on patrol. Meanwhile, the internal department investigation is ongoing.

"Chief O'Toole and (Office of Professional Accountability) Director Pierce Murphy conferred and believed that nothing in the ongoing investigation precluded him from returning to his patrol duties," said SPD spokesman Drew Fowler.

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