Month: October 2016

Tax Help!

United Way of King County partners with many organizations in the Seattle area to provide people with free help in preparing their personal income tax forms.  Here is a link to a page that shows all the places where this help is available:  United Way of King County Tax Help

Seattle Public Library partners with United Way of King County and AARP to provide tax assistance at many of the library’s branches.  Here is a link for that: Seattle Public Library, United Way of King County, AARP Tax Help

Click here for more information about legal clinics and resources for tax help.

Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy

The Seattle/King County/Snohomish County YWCA, through its campaign “Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women”, sponsors a domestic violence legal advocacy program which provides assistance with issues like obtaining a protection order, completing a parenting plan, starting a divorce process, etc.  The assistance is free of charge.  For more information contact Maria at (206) 683-8277.

Need more help? There are more Legal Clinics & Resources for Survivors of Domestic Violence, as well as our Family Law Guide on Domestic Violence.

What Can I Do About An Eviction On My Record?

This link leads to a guide written by the Northwest Justice Project on the WashingtonLawHelp website.  The guide describes what can and cannot be done to remove the record of any eviction from your court record.  It answers several key questions including:

  • How do I determine whether there is an eviction on my record?
  • How can I get an eviction removed from my court record?
  • How do I discuss a past eviction with a potential landlord?
  • Is there something I can do to change the laws so that I could get my eviction case removed from my court record in the future?

Want more information? Check out our list of Housing Law Clinics & Resources, as well as our Eviction Process Guide.

New Plain Language Forms Available for Use May 1, 2016

The WSBA Access to Justice Board in partnership the the Administrative Office of the Courts worked together to create forms for family law cases that use simpler language that is easier to understand for non-lawyers. The hope is that these new forms create less confusion and remove some of the anxiety of filling out the forms for self-represented people. The new forms will be available to use as of May 1, 2016 and required for use by July 1, 2016. You can read more about the project and see the forms here.

Need help with a Family Law matter? Check out our Family Law Guide, as well as our Guide to Family Law Clinics & Resources in King County.

Voting Rights Restoration in Washington State

According to the Washington Secretary of State (SOS):

  • If you were convicted of a felony in a Washington State court, your right to vote is restored automatically once you are no longer under the authority of DOC (in prison or on community custody). If you have questions about your status with DOC, call at (800) 430-9674.
  • If you were convicted of a felony in another state or in federal court, your right to vote is restored automatically as long as you are not currently incarcerated for that felony.
  • You do not lose the right to vote for a misdemeanor conviction or a conviction in juvenile court.
  • You do not need a certificate of discharge (COD) to have your voting rights restored.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington has also updated their information on the restoration of voting rights for those that have been convicted of felonies as an adult. The page includes answers to many important questions such as:

  • How do convictions affect my right to vote?
  • How do I know when I’m eligible to have my rights restored?
  • Do I need to re-register to vote?
  • Who should I contact if I run into difficulty?

Voting is critically important in a democracy and everyone who has the right should have their voice heard. You can register to vote at the King County Law Library.

Need more help? Visit our Legal Clinics page to learn about the Re-Entry Clinic, as well as our Guide to Criminal Law Clinics & Resources in King County.

Myths & Misperceptions About the Washington Courts

A video from Washington’s judicial branch challenges some mistaken ideas about how courts work by using real person-on-the-street interviews and responses from judges and justices. The video was produced by the Public Trust & Confidence Committee of the Board for Judicial Administration (BJA) in partnership with Washington’s public affairs station, TVW, with financial support provided by the Washington State Gender and Justice Commission and Minority and Justice Commission.

Susan Carlson: Washington’s First Female Supreme Court Clerk

Our State Supreme Court recently appointed Deputy Clerk Susan Carlson as our State’s first female Supreme Court Clerk, replacing retired Clerk Ron Carpenter. The following is excerpted from the Supreme Court’s official announcement:

“The Washington Supreme Court’s nine justices have appointed the state’s first female Supreme Court Clerk in Washington State history. Deputy Clerk Susan Carlson, was sworn in today as the Court Clerk by Chief Justice Barbara A. Madsen and justices of the Court.  Carlson replaces long-time Court Clerk Ron Carpenter, who retired from the position at the end of March after serving 10 years in the role. She will serve as the 9th Supreme Court Clerk in Washington State history. The position of Supreme Court Clerk was created in 1934 to maintain the court’s records, files and documents. The clerk is also responsible for managing the court’s case flow, including the preparation of its calendars and docketing of all cases and papers filed with the court.  The Clerk’s Office manages the Court’s case flow and the filing of supporting documents for approximately 1,000 petitions and motions considered each year by the Washington Supreme Court. The Office also manages attorney licensing and discipline, and manages documents related to death-penalty cases filed with the Court. “I am honored to be selected to serve as the Supreme Court Clerk,” said Carlson of the appointment. “To say that I am excited to take on this role is an understatement and I look forward to serving the Court and the people of the State of Washington.”

New Pro Se Bankruptcy Clinic at the Federal Courthouse

The Northwest Consumer Law Center, in partnership with the Federal Bar Association, launched a new Pro Se Bankruptcy Clinic at the Federal Courthouse. The clinic is a free walk-in clinic where experienced bankruptcy lawyers will help pro se individuals:

  • Look through forms to catch things that may cause problems for your case
  • Help you fix problems in your forms and file amended (revised) ones
  • Step in to represent you in your case, including going with you to the Meeting of Creditors
  • Advise you in various bankruptcy-related issues

The clinic occurs from 2:00pm to 4:00pm on the 1st & 3rd Thursday of the Month at the Federal Courthouse: 700 Stewart Street, Seattle, WA 98101, Room 6101 (6th Floor). If you are unable to attend the clinic at those times, then you may also call the Northwest Consumer Law Center’s Intake Message Line at (206) 805-1722 to request a consultation. The clinic is limited to assisting those individuals whose household gross monthly income is 200% of the Federal Poverty Level or lower. For more information about the clinic, and to see if you qualify for its services, click here.

Want more information about the various legal clinics offered in King County? Visit our legal clinics page.

Want more information and resources about Debt & Bankruptcy in King County? Visit our Debt Defense Legal Clinics & Resources page.

KCLL Hires a New Director

The Board of Trustees and the staff are pleased to announce that KCLL has hired Barbara Swatt Engstrom as its new Executive Director.  Ms. Swatt Engstrom, who holds a J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law and an M.L.I.S. from the University of Washington Information School, has over 15 years of experience in law librarianship, most recently as Librarian and Adjunct Professor at the Seattle University School of Law.  She will join the KCLL team on September 1, 2016.  Welcome, Barbara!