King County government has recently released a poster supporting the motivation behind the County’s Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan for 2016 – 2022. As described by the County, the Strategic Plan “is a blueprint for action and change that will guide our pro-equity policy direction, our decision-making, planning, operations and services, and our workplace practices in order to advance equity and social justice within County government and in partnership with communities.” You can download a copy of this poster here.
Category: News & Updates
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Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice sends letter to Department of Homeland Security regarding immigration enforcement activities in Washington Courts
In response to a recent uptick in immigration enforcement activities around Washington courthouses, Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst sent a letter to Secretary John Kelly of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security expressing concerns and possible solutions. Full text of the letter can be found by clicking here.
Citing reports from lawyers and judges about this increased presence, Fairhurst said, “These developments are deeply troubling because they impede the fundamental mission of our courts, which is to ensure due process and access to justice for everyone, regardless of immigration status.
Highlighting that the fear of apprehension, even for those with lawful immigration status, may deter individuals from accessing courthouses, Fairhurst said, “Our ability to function relies on individuals who voluntarily appear to participate and cooperate in the process of justice.”
“When people are afraid to appear for court hearings, out of fear of apprehension, their ability to access justice is compromised,” she said, adding, “their absence curtails the capacity of our judges, clerks and court personnel to function effectively…and risk making our communities less safe.” Lawyers report that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities are occurring at courthouses in Clark, Clallam, Cowlitz, King, Skagit and Mason counties.
In addition to welcoming a meeting to discuss the issue further, Fairhurst encourages the Department to designate courthouses as “sensitive locations” – a term used by the Department of Homeland Security in Policy 10029.2 to guide and limit such activities in locations such as schools and universities, places of worship, community centers and hospitals.
While a “sensitive location” designation does not preclude enforcement actions on these sites, the policy states that these venues will generally be avoided to enhance the public understanding and trust to ensure people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services are free to do so without fear or hesitation.
Designating courts as sensitive locations will, “assist us in maintaining the trust that is required for the court to be a safe and neutral public forum. It will assure our residents that they can and should appear for court hearings without fear of apprehension for civil immigration violations,” wrote Fairhurst.
Read the original version of this article here.
Washington Courts Media Contacts:
|Wendy K. Ferrell
Judicial Communications Manager
Trump Budget Eliminates Legal Services Corporation Funding
President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget eliminates funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). In his first budget proposal released Thursday, Trump is cutting discretionary spending to pay for an increase in defense spending and the wall on the Mexican border, the Washington Post reports.
The LSC is among 19 agencies in line for total elimination of funding. Others agencies to be cut include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts, according to the Post and USA Today.
The American Bar Association is “outraged” that the Trump administration is calling to eliminate funding for the LSC and is calling upon members of Congress to restore it, ABA President Linda Klein said in a statement Thursday. Klein noted that LSC offices are in every congressional district and help 1.9 million people annually.
“Some of the worthy services the LSC provides include securing housing for veterans, protecting seniors from scams, delivering legal services to rural areas, protecting victims of domestic abuse and helping disaster survivors,” Klein wrote. “More than 30 cost-benefit studies all show that legal aid delivers far more in benefits than it costs,” Klein wrote. “If veterans become homeless, or disaster victims cannot rebuild, their costs to society are significantly more.”
Also supporting the LSC are the heads of more than 150 U.S. law firms, who told Trump in a letter that eliminating funding would hamper their ability to provide pro bono representation because they partner with legal aid groups receiving LSC funding.
“Eliminating the Legal Services Corp. will not only imperil the ability of civil legal aid organizations to serve Americans in need, it will also vastly diminish the private bar’s capacity to help these individuals,” the letter stated. “The pro bono activity facilitated by LSC funding is exactly the kind of public-private partnership the government should encourage, not eliminate.”
The LSC requested $502 million for fiscal year 2017 and received $385 million in appropriations for fiscal year 2016.
LSC President Jim Sandman remained optimistic about the outlook for the LSC in an interview with Bloomberg Big Law Business. He said he expected Congress to ignore Trump’s proposal and to grant the full $502 million funding request.
“We represent a fundamental American value—equal justice,” Sandman told Bloomberg. “That’s a value as old as the republic itself. Congress understands that.”
In an attempt to save the LSC, the American Bar Association is launching a grassroots campaign to engage constituents around the country to fight to save the LSC. Here is how it works:
- Go to www.DefendLegalAid.org to register as Legal Aid Defenders and show your support for legal aid organizations.
- Create a short message for our Members of Congress and submit your contact information to create a Legal Aid Defender card. The cards can be personalized by submitting a photo.
- The ABA will print and hand-deliver every card to members of Congress (three cards for each participant – a House Member and two Senators).
- The cards will be delivered by state delegations during ABA Day in Washington (April 25th – April 27th).
The King County Law Library is a proud provider of free legal aid services, as well as a partner with several pro bono legal aid organizations in King County. Eliminating funding for the LSC will have a direct impact on our ability to continue offering legal aid services. Please consider defending the funding of LSC. For more information about how you can help legal aid in addition to becoming a Legal Aid Defender, please go to www.HelpLegalAid.org.
Read the original version of this article here.
The Ethics Of A Mobile, Virtual Law Practice: Washington Gives The OK
A Washington State Bar ethics opinion considered whether it was ethical for Washington lawyers to practice law from a virtual law office. In Opinion 201601, the Committee on Professional Ethics (CPE) offered a well-reasoned opinion in favor of allowing lawyers the mobility and convenience of practicing law from a virtual law firm.
The CPE noted at the outset of their opinion that mobile lawyers with virtual law practices were a sign of the changing times: “Increasing costs of doing business, including the costs associated with physical office space, have motivated lawyers to rethink how they deliver legal services. Many lawyers are choosing to do some or all of their work remotely, from home or other remote locations. Advances in the reliability and accessibility of on-line resources, cloud computing, and email services have allowed the development of the virtual law office, in which the lawyer does not maintain a physical office at all. Although this modern business model may appear radically different from the traditional brick and mortar law office model, the underlying principles of an ethical law practice remain the same.”
The CPE also outlined the steps that lawyers must take in order to properly vet their software provider if they are planning to store confidential client data online. As explained in the opinion, factors to be considered include the following:
- Lawyers have a duty of general technology competence
- Lawyers must thoroughly vet cloud computing vendors to ensure data is stored securely
- Lawyers must ensure that there are sufficient data backup procedures in place
- The agreement with the vendor should ensure that lawyers area able to retrieve law firm data in a readable format and that it includes breach notification clauses
- Because technology can change quickly, lawyers have a continuing duty to monitor and review the adequacy of the vendor’s security procedures.
And last, but certainly not least, the CPE addressed the importance of confidentiality when communicating with clients via electronic means:
Importantly, the Committee acknowledged that in 2017, due to technology advancements, including secure online client portals, email is not necessarily the best way for lawyers to communicate with clients, regardless of whether the law firm has a virtual office or a brick and mortar office. Like the American Bar Association (in Formal Opinion 11-459) and the Texas Bar (in Ethics Opinion 648), the Committee warned against using email in some cases: “Lawyers in virtual practices may be more likely to communicate with clients by email. As discussed in WSBA Advisory Opinion 2175 (2008), lawyers may communicate with clients by email. However, if the lawyer believes there is a significant risk that a third party will access the communications, such as when the client is using an employer-provided email account, the lawyer has an obligation to advise the clients of the risks of such communication.”
In other words, regardless of whether your law firm’s practice is a virtual one or not, if you are still communicating with clients using unencrypted email, you may want to re-think that choice. Instead, consider implementing a more secure and ethical alternative by using a client portal (which is often built-in to law practice management software) for confidential communications. Doing so will ensure that your law firm is ethically compliant and that confidential client information remains secure.
Read the original version of this article here.
Introducing The New Tribal Court Indian Law Bulletin
The National Indian Law Library (NILL), in partnership with the University of Colorado Law School Indian Law Clinic, is pleased to introduce the new Tribal Courts Bulletin. This new bulletin will feature selected tribal court opinions of value to Indian law practitioners, educators, and students. The Tribal Courts Bulletin will complement the state and federal case bulletins published by NILL since 2001.
To date, the NILL Indian Law Bulletins have focused primarily on federal and state law relating to Native Americans. By adding some of the most important current tribal court opinions, NILL strives to offer a more complete Indian law update service.
“The American Indian Law Clinic is excited to collaborate with NILL for the Indian Law Bulletin, in the spirit of our longstanding relationship with the Native American Rights Fund. Tribal jurisprudence is a vital component of Indian law for lawyers, judges, and students alike, and this bulletin will ensure access to these important legal resources.”
– Carla Fredericks, Director of Colorado Law School’s American Indian Law Clinic and Program
See the new bulletin along with other Indian Law Bulletins at http://www.narf.org/nill/bulletins/ and read about the selection and publishing criteria at http://www.narf.org/nill/bulletins/tribal/about.html. You can search for past materials using the search features on the website. Comments are welcome at the NILL website on this new bulletin.
If you are a tribal court judge or tribal attorney and would like more information about submitting your tribe’s court opinions, please contact David Selden at email@example.com, 303-447- 8760.
Read the original version of this article here.
If You See Something, Save Something – 6 Ways to Save Pages In the Wayback Machine
In recent days, many people have shown an interest in making sure that the Wayback Machine (also known as the Internet Archive) has copies of the web pages they care about most. These saved pages can be cited, shared, linked to – and they will continue to exist even after the original page changes or is removed from the web.
There are several ways to save pages and whole sites so that they appear in the Wayback Machine. Here are 6 of them.
Save Page Now
Put a URL into the form, press the button, and the Wayback Machine saves the page. You will instantly have a permanent URL for your page.
At the moment, there are a few exceptions for this method – some sites prohibit crawling, a few have SSL (security) settings that make it break – but this method will work for most pages. The feature saves the page you enter including the images and CSS. It does not save any of the outlinks and cannot be used to initiate a crawl of an entire web site. Wayback Machine will not keep your IP address either, so your submission will remain anonymous.
Install the Wayback Machine Chrome extension in your browser. Go to a page you want to archive, click the icon in your toolbar, and select Save Page Now. Wayback Machine will save the page and give you a permanent URL.
The same provisos from “Save Page Now” apply – there are some pages where it will not work and it only saves one page at a time. One bonus feature to installing the extension versus using the “Save Page Now” feature is that as you surf around and run into a missing page, Wayback Machine will alert you if they have a saved copy.
Wayback Machine also has a Firefox add-on; it will have a “Save Page Now” functionality soon. Wayback Machine is working on a Safari extension as well.
Volunteer for Archive Team
Archive Team is an entirely volunteer driven group who are interested in saving Internet history. Many of the sites and pages they save end up in the Wayback Machine. Visit the Archive Team site to learn more about how to volunteer with them.
Sign up for an Archive-It Account
Archive-It is a subscription service provided by Internet Archive that allows you to run your own crawling projects without any technical expertise. Tell the Internet Archive what to crawl and how often to crawl it, and the Internet Archive will execute the crawl and put the results in the Wayback Machine.
Archive-It is a paid subscription service with technical and web archivist support. This option is most appropriate for organizations that have a mandate to save certain types or categories of web content on a regular basis. If your institution is a current Archive-It partner, contact them for how you can contribute.
End of Term Archive
Every time the US government administration changes, Internet Archive works with partners to make a copy of government-related sites and web presences. The Internet Archive calls it the End of Term Archive. You can help the Internet Archive discover new government sites by using the Nomination Tool to suggest pages or sites. These nominations are added to the crawl and end up in the Wayback Machine.
The Internet Archive has been saving web pages for 20 years. Use one of the methods above to make sure that the Internet Archive has the pages you care about.
Read the original version of this article here.
CIA Records Search Tool Now Available Online
The CIA recently announced that its CREST tool is now available online. CREST is an electronic database of records that have been declassified under the CIA’s 25 year program. While the CREST tool only contains a subset of the declassified records, researchers were previously required to visit the National Archives in Maryland to search the database, so the online tool greatly increases the availability of these records.
The records include information about topics such as the Berlin Tunnel, Stargate Project, and Secret Writing. Users can browse the archive or use the website’s advanced search feature to search the records. To learn more about CREST, visit the CIA website.
Are Lawsuits the New Strategy for Fighting the Opiod Epidemic?
Almost every day, the news reports alarming statistics on opioid use. In 2015, 229 individuals died from heroin and prescription overdoses in King County alone. The current opioid epidemic is straining the budgets of law enforcement and courts across the country. Now the city of Everett, Washington has come up with a new strategy.
On January 19, Everett filed suit against Purdue Pharma in the Snohomish County Superior Court. While there has been much litigation against drug manufacturers for deceptive marketing practices, this suit is different. It seeks to explicitly hold Purdue accountable for the economic strain the opioid problem has caused in Everett. In the complaint, the city of Everett alleges that Purdue failed to stop their product from being funneled onto the black market, willfully ignoring “suspicious doctors and pharmacies.” The complaint goes on to argue, ” Everett has incurred and will continue to incur sizable costs in dealing with the OxyContin (and consequent heroin) abuse, addiction, and crime caused by Purdue, including the expenditure of substantial sums to address the social and economic impacts of the opioid epidemic in Everett. For example, Everett has spent, and will need to continue to spend, significant money on law enforcement, prosecution, emergency medical services, prisons and jails, probation, and public works. Other departments of Everett, including the municipal courts, fire department, and parks department, have also been forced to devote substantial time, money, and resources to the harms caused by Purdue. Everett has also suffered lost economic opportunity as a result of Purdue’s wrongdoing.” The lawsuit came after a 2016 Los Angeles Times investigation reported that Purdue had evidence of illegal trafficking but failed to act.
But will it work? Most law professors weighing in are skeptical, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out. If the court rules for Everett, we could see a flurry of such suits across the country as cash-strapped municipalities struggle to cover costs.
Read the original version of this article here. Learn more about this lawsuit here.
University of Minnesota’s Immigration History Research Center Launches #ImmigrationSyllabus
Earlier this year, immigration historians from across the country launched #ImmigrationSyllabus, a website and educational resource to help the public understand the deep historical roots of today’s immigration debates. Created in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Immigration History Research Center and the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and made available through the University of Minnesota Libraries, #ImmigrationSyllabus is a tool for teaching, learning and advocacy. #ImmigrationSyllabus is available online at immigrationsyllabus.umn.edu.
“I am proud to be collaborating with colleagues across the United States in this important initiative,” said Erika Lee, director of the Immigration History Research Center at the U of M. “With current debates and federal actions on immigration, understanding the historical context of immigration in this nation is more vital than ever.”
The syllabus seeks to provide historical context to current debates over immigration reform, integration, and citizenship. The syllabus follows a chronological overview of U.S. immigration history, but it also includes thematic weeks that cover salient issues in political discourse today such as xenophobia, deportation policy, and border policing. Listing essential topics and readings and linking to historical documents and multimedia sources, #ImmigrationSyllabus helps answer important questions such as:
- Who has come to the United States and why?
- Why has immigration been such a hotly debated topic then – and now?
- When and why did the U.S. start building walls and banning and deporting immigrants?
- What were the consequences of those policies?
- What’s “new” about new immigration to the United States?
- What lessons might we learn as we move forward?
Part of a recent academic movement to respond to pressing current events, the #ImmigrationSyllabus follows the #TrumpSyllabus, which helped readers understand the Donald Trump’s political success during the 2016 Presidential campaign; the #FergusonSyllabus, which inspired conversations about race, violence and activism in classrooms; and the #StandingRockSyllabus, which heightened awareness of the Dakota Access Pipeline and placed the #NoDAPL protests into historical context.
Find the original article here.