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.
- 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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!
On June 9, 2016 Engrossed Senate Bill 6413 was enacted. This bill creates a procedure called “Order of Limited Dissemination” which would prevent tenant screening companies from disclosing an eviction on their report. A judge may sign your order if:
- You were wrongly named in an eviction/unlawful detainer action or there was no basis for the action.
- Your tenancy was reinstated after the filing of the unlawful detainer.
- Some other “good cause” which is up to the discretion of the judge.
If you are granted this order you may take it to a tenant screening agency and they will not disclose any evictions on your report. You may then use this report for up to 30 days while trying to obtain housing. This process does not remove the eviction from the public record and so it is still discoverable to the general public.The law also gives landlords up to 21 days to either return the security deposit or submit a statement detailing how the deposit was applied.
Beginning September 1 of 2016, Washington courts may choose to consider unpublished opinions of the Court of Appeals. While such opinions would still be nonbinding, amendments to GR 14.1 would allow them to be “accorded such persuasive value as the court deems appropriate” – provided the citing party identifies the decision as unpublished and appends a copy to the pleading. The proposed amendment and rationale can be read here – along with comments received regarding the changes. The adopted rule may be found here.
Want more help finding Washington Case Law? Check out our Washington Case Law Guide.