Judge summons Yakima police chief to court

Judge summons Yakima police chief to court

YAKIMA, Wash.-- Yakima's police chief is being called into court over a complaint he made. Chief Dominic Rizzi wrote a letter to court officials concerned about dangerous inmates released on furloughs, especially after two recent cases when the inmates didn't return.

One letter from the chief of police and a judge orders him to court. Chief Dominic Rizzi is tired of his department spending taxpayer dollars looking for felons released on furlough who don't come back.

"This has happened twice since I've been here to individuals that pose a great risk to Yakima," Rizzi said. "And all I'm asking is that they take care and really scrutinize who they let out on furlough."

He's referring to Jacob Lucey and Shaun Vanarendonk: two felons with long criminal histories let out of jail for a day.

"Someone like this is being furloughed when they pose such a high risk to everybody," he said. 

Rizzi wrote a letter to Yakima County's chief prosecutor, deputy prosecutor, presiding superior court judge and the judge who approved Vanarendonk's furlough to complain specifically about the Vanarendonk decision and, take a closer review when cases like this come up again.

"It was clear that he was trying to say this is a very bad person, he shouldn't be out on the streets," Herold Delia said. 

Herold Delia responded on behalf of the judges. The letter says Judge David Elofson felt Rizzi was trying to influence his decision on Vanarendonk's sentencing; a claim Rizzi denies.

"I only looked at the furlough and that's what the letter addressed: future furloughs," Rizzi said. 

Judge Elofson also responded directly with a subpoena for Rizzi. He's been called to court for a hearing on the letter and to bring Vanarendonk's lawyers up to speed on Rizzi's involvement and not jeopardize the case against him.

Chief Rizzi will be in court Monday, September 23rd.