Category: News & Updates

Public Defenders to Help Vacating Eligible Convictions

The King County Office of Public Defense has announced a new initiative to help people remove eligible convictions from their record.  Eligibility depends on the type of conviction (many misdemeanors and non-violent Class B & Class C felonies) as well as the amount of time that has passed since the conviction – among other things.

 

The Seattle Times published a good article on the announcement, which can be found HERE.

Information on the Office of Public Defense can be found HERE.

WSBA Members To Get Access to Fastcase!

Beginning in “early 2019,” the Washington State Bar Association is going to give all active members access to Fastcase as part of their bar membership.  Once it goes live, bar members will have full access to their extensive collection of caselaw, statutes, regulations, court rules, and other materials.  The arrangement will allow unlimited research and includes webinar training and customer support from Fastcase reference attorneys.  You can read the full press release HERE.

Washington State Assists Furloughed Federal Employees

The Washington State Employment Security Department has announced that Federal workers furloughed due to the partial shutdown of the Federal government may apply for unemployment benefits.  Interested workers can apply online or by phone at 800-318-6022.  They will need to provide verification of their wages in the event ESD cannot reach their agencies.  For more information, visit ESD’s web site.

How to Nullify Your Property’s Discriminatory Covenants

Many Seattle homeowners are unaware that their property may have restrictive covenants (dictating what types of people can own the property) attached to it that are based on outdated, unenforceable and racist policies from the past.  But beginning January 1st of 2019, homeowners can ask the King County Recorder’s Office to modify any of their deeds that contain such language.  Read the Seattle Times article HERE.

IdentityTheft.gov Helps You Recover from Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission’s online resource, IdentityTheft.gov, can help you recover from identity theft.  The site uses a three-step process to gather information about your situation, create a recovery plan for immediate action and follow-up steps and, if you choose to create a personal account, to help you track the steps you’ve taken and update your recovery plan as you proceed.  It provides sample letters and checklists.  It also includes custom checklists for specific types of accounts that are often the target of identify thieves and special forms for situations like tax, medical and child identity theft.  The recommended routine is to follow the site’s interview process to produce a custom recovery plan but you can also jump directly to a complete list of all recovery steps contained within the site.  It includes numerous independent links related to identity theft and identity protection, including links to information about the warning signs of identify theft, what your rights are in an identity theft situation and how to contact credit bureaus.

Infographics Help Explain Legal Research Visually

Thanks to LeighAnne Thompson, Reference Librarian at Seattle University School of Law, our site now has copies of the following legal research guides, presented as infographics created with Piktochart.

Many people are visual learners so using the infographics format leverages this fact and can help people better understand information, even complex information like legal research processes.  Please let us know if you find these helpful by contacting us here.

Legal Research Strategy

Researching Municipal Law

Washington Legislative History

Washington Administrative Law

 

“Can I Vote?” Flowcharts to Help You Understand Voting Rights

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.

New Washington State Service Animals Law Takes Effect on 1/1/2019

This past session, the Washington State Legislature passed SHB 2822, Chapter 176 of the Laws of 2018, to address growing problems with people misrepresenting ordinary animals as service animals.  In addition to changing the definition of “service animal”, the new law also creates a civil penalty for misrepresentation of a service animal of up to $500.  WashingtonLawHelp has published a guide related to this new law here.