In 2021, the Washington State Supreme Court’s decision known as State v. Blake found the Washington law criminalizing drug possession unconstitutional. The Blake Refund Bureau is now accepting applications to refund legal financial obligations (LFO) to people whose convictions were affected by the Blake decision.
Before you apply for an LFO refund from the Blake Refund Bureau, you need to:
- Determine if you have a Blake-impacted criminal record. For help determining if you qualify, review this eligibility guide from Civil Survival.
- Ask the Court where you were convicted to vacate that conviction
Once you’ve completed these steps, you can apply for your refund at the Blake Refund Bureau’s application website. If you need help with any of these steps, please contact the Blake Hotline at (360) 586-3164, Ext. 218.
For more information about the Blake decision and its impact, view this Fox13 Seattle report and/or review this guide provided by WashingtonLawHelp.
The Washington state legislature has passed a new law intended to help former prisoners re-enter society. Without affecting restitution to victims, HB 1169 eliminates some mandatory fees that can often be a counter-productive burden for those who are trying to get their lives back on track.
You can read the entire story HERE.
King County’s Department of Public Defense (DPD) can help! They can assist sealing both juvenile or even vacating some adult criminal convictions. You can read about these services HERE.
The Dept. of Public Defense actually offers a number of services – you can read all about them HERE.
LIVING WITH CONVICTION is a team of individuals that are committed to helping people struggling with the burden of Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) and felony drug possession convictions. They do not provide legal advice, but they can help you vacate your pre-2021 drug possession felonies (allowed by the State Supreme Court’s 2/25/2021 “Blake” decision) and get your LFO-related interest waived.
You can find out more about them at their website: LivingWithConviction.org
Read their LFO flyer HERE.
Read their Blake flyer HERE.
The King County Prosecutor’s Office has launched an online dashboard that lets you track important data bout the felony cases that they’re pursuing. The tool is an effort to offer more transparency around the number and types of cases being brought in the County – and how it’s being affected by the pandemic.
You can view the dashboard HERE.
You can read and listen to the the full story HERE.
Most of the inmates being held in King County Jail are actually eligible to vote – although many of them do not know it. Defense attorneys, advocates and election officials are reaching out to eligible inmates to help them have a voice in this year’s elections.
You can read the full story at Crosscut HERE.
The New Hope Act (Chapter 331 of the Laws of 2019) became effective on July 28, 2019 and makes substantial changes to the rights and procedures for clearing criminal misdemeanor and felony conviction records in Washington State.
Among these changes are improved notice requirements for the Department of Corrections and the clerk of the court; the ability to vacate Assault in the second degree, Assault in the third degree when not committed against a law enforcement or peace officer, and Robbery in the second degree under specific circumstances; and the removal of restrictions based on prior vacations and the modification of restrictions based on prior restraining/protection orders.
For instructions and forms related to these new provisions, visit the New Hope Act portion of the Civil Survival web site.
The Washington State office of the ACLU has posted helpful “Can I Vote?” flowcharts to help people with criminal convictions figure out if they are eligible to vote. The flowcharts are written in seven languages–English, Chinese, Korean, Oromo, Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese. A person convicted as an adult of a felony in Washington State loses their right to vote and is also ineligible if they are serving a sentence for any felony conviction from another State or federal court. The right to vote is automatically restored once the person is no longer under the supervision of the Washington State Department of Corrections. Read the English language version of the “Can I Vote?” flowchart here.
King County Bar Association’s Volunteer Legal Services program has launched a new service for low-income people trying to vacate criminal conviction records. The ultimate goal is to reduce the barriers to employment and housing created by convictions. To be eligible to participate, you must be low-income and your most recent conviction must have been from a court within King County. Download this flyer for more information.
Seattle Municipal Court is sponsoring a warrant outreach program on Thursday, August 9th from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Lake City Community Center. The Warrant Outreach event is a partnership between the Seattle Municipal Court, King County Department of Public Defense, Seattle City Attorney’s Office, Seattle Police Department, Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Seattle Human Services Department.
Anyone with outstanding warrants is welcome to attend and learn about options for resolving warrants and/or outstanding tickets. Court staff will be on hand to answer questions about court processes and provide additional information. For more information about the event, visit the City of Seattle’s news web site. or contact Gary Ireland, Public Information Officer at email@example.com.