New Legal Aid Pilot to Prevent Evictions; Gates Scholars Getting Things Done!; Federal Judge Orders Immediate Removal of Unconstitutional Immigration Hold

Launch of Legal Aid Pilot to Prevent Housing Evictions

Council member Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle and South Park) celebrated news that a full complement of attorneys has been hired to implement a new City-sponsored legal aid pilot program created to prevent people from losing their housing when they are in the midst of a legal defense for an unrelated offense.  The creation of this pilot will allow new civic legal aid attorneys to partner with Public Defenders to advocate for the accused to keep their housing during the legal review and plea bargaining processes.

Read more here.

Gates Public Service Law Scholar Martina Kartman selected for 2017 Soros Justice Fellowship!

“The Open Society Foundations are pleased to announce the 2017 class of Soros Justice Fellows, a dynamic mix of attorneys, advocates, artists, writers, and scholars who bring fresh ideas and energy to the challenge of maintaining past gains and continuing to push for progress toward a more humane criminal justice system in the United States.

Working in 11 states across the country, the 23 fellows seek to address the country’s overly punitive approach to crime, develop effective responses to both interpersonal and police violence, and challenge the ways in which the effects of incarceration linger long after someone has been released from prison. Included in this group is the inaugural cohort of Soros Justice “Youth Activist” Fellows—seven people between the ages of 18 and 25 who are just beginning their careers and who show real promise to develop into social justice leaders and innovators.

Martina Kartman will support communities impacted by the criminal legal system, addressing the harms associated with interpersonal and state violence, and pushing for alternatives to punitive sentencing.”

Read more here.

New York Times, Letter to the Editor, “Criminal Justice Reform in Louisiana,” by Gates Public Service Law Scholar Theo Shaw!Scales of Justice

“The bill signed by the governor is a step in the right direction. But too many people are still suffering in this oppressive criminal system, mainly because of lack of quality legal representation.

People faced with a loss of liberty are entitled to more. Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court said the ideal that every person stands equal before the law cannot be realized if a poor person has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him.”

Read more here.

Federal Judge Orders Immediate Removal of Unconstitutional Immigration Hold

“A federal district court judge in eastern Washington ruled yesterday that Yakima County must immediately remove an immigration hold on an individual which prevents him from posting bail, thus violating his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures. The Court found that the County had no authority to place an immigration hold against persons based on a civil immigration “warrant” — an administrative form issued by federal immigration officers. In an oral ruling after a lengthy hearing in Spokane, Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. emphasized that the Fourth Amendment requires that an arrest warrant must be approved by a neutral and detached judge – not by an employee of the executive branch.

The ruling has wide implications as similar policies are in effect across the nation.”

Read more here.

Opportunity to Serve on WSBA’s Civil Litigation Rules TaskforceWSBA Logo

The Washington State Bar Association is seeking a lawyer with experience litigating in Superior and/or District Court in Washington to serve on a rule-drafting Task Force, to replace a member who had to resign. The Task Force was created by Bar’s  Board of Governors in November 2016 to draft amendments to the Washington Civil Rules for eventual submission to the Supreme Court. The Board of Governors established the Task Force after considering and voting on some of the recommendations submitted by an earlier group, the Escalating Costs of Civil Litigation Task Force (ECCL).

If interested in serving, please send a resume and cover letter explaining why you are interested to Kevin Bank,WSBA Assistant General Counsel at kevinb@wsba.org. Applications must be submitted as soon as possible but no later than August 31, 2018.  More information on the Task Force can be found here.

Attention Post Grad Students! AmeriCorps Fellowship Deadlines Fast Approaching!

Want to Host A Social Justice Tuesday This Year?

SJT Logo

Want to host a Social Justice Today this Year? Don’t miss out! Any UW Law student organization can team up with the Center for Public Service Law to host an SJT.

Learn more about how to sign up here. 

2015 AmeriCorps Legal Fellowships Still Available to Begin between August 15 and September 15

AmeriCorps Logo

There are several postgraduate fellowship positions available with organizations across the country through out Veterans Legal Corps and Employment Opportunity Legal Corps. The fellowships are one-year and will begin in August or September 2015.

Host organizations will post more information on positions over the next several weeks, so please continue to check back!

For more information click here.

Attention 3Ls and Recent Grads! 2016 Equal Justice Works Fellowships Application Deadline Closes September 18

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The 2016 application is open through September 18. Register for these 2016 Equal Justice Works Fellowships webinars for application tips and to learn about sponsorship opportunities in medical-legal partnerships with special guest, Ellen Lawton of the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership at GWU’s Department of Health Policy.

Check out the following for helpful information about EJW Fellowships:

Filipino Lawyers of Washington Now Accepting Applications for 2015 Pangarap Scholarship

Filipino Lawyers of Washington

Each year, the Filipino Lawyers of Washington (“FLOW”) awards up to 3 scholarships ranging from $500 to $3,000 to law students in the Pacific Northwest. The scholarships are intended to recognize law students who have demonstrated significant commitment to community service, particularly service to the Filipino/Filipino American community. You need not be of Filipino ethnicity to apply.

Applications must be e-mailed to students@filipinolawyers.org no later than Saturday September 25, 2015 at 5pm PST.

To download the application, click here.

U.S. Grassroots Groups File Request for Hearing on Right to Water and Sanitation at International Human Rights Commission

USHRN Logo

By US Human Rights Network

Washington, DC – July 29, 2015 – Yesterday, on the 5th Anniversary of the UN General Assembly resolution on the human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation, the US Human Rights Network, along with more than twenty U.S. grassroots and national groups, individuals, and universities filed a request for a hearing with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a regional human rights commission, regarding the human right to water in the United States.

The request is responding to the urgent situations nationwide involving a lack of access to clean and affordable water, and highlights several of those critical situations that represent key water challenges in urban, rural, and indigenous communities. The request includes information on African-American communities in Michigan, Maryland, and rural Alabama, Latino communities in rural California, and Indigenous communities in the Southwest that have been disproportionately affected.

Continue reading here.

Solitary Confinement: Punished for Life

Joseph Harmon Photo, (c) NYT, Max Whittaker

By Erica Goode | New York Times | Photo credit Max Whittaker for NYT (Photo of Joseph Harmon)

In 1993, Craig Haney, a social psychologist, interviewed a group of inmates in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison, California’s toughest penal institution.

He was studying the psychological effects of isolation on prisoners, and Pelican Bay was among the first of a new breed of super-maximum-security prisons that states around the country were beginning to build.

Twenty years later, he returned to Pelican Bay for another set of interviews. He was startled to find himself facing some of the same prisoners he had met before, inmates who now had spent more than two decades alone in windowless cells.

Continue reading here.  

Watch the video on the Effects of Solitary Confinement by Colin Archdeacon and Center for Constitutional Rights here.

Breaking News! BIA Recognizes Domestic Violence as Basis for Asylum

Northwest Justice Project’s New Text Campaign Connects People to Legal Information

NJP

The Northwest Justice Project is pleased to announce that we have recently launched a text campaign connecting individuals with legal information via their cell phone. Individuals who need a driver’s license for work and have a suspended driver’s license because of unpaid traffic fines, suspension due to a car accident while uninsured, or had one or more convictions for driving with a suspended license and still have unpaid fines even though the suspension period is over can text the keyword DRIVE to 877877. 

Click here to view the short video describing the campaign.

Breaking News! Highest U.S. Immigration Tribunal Recognizes Domestic Violence as a Basis for Asylum

By: Center for Gender & Refugee Studies

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The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) today issued a landmark ruling, Matter of A-R-C-G-, with the potential to affect immigrant women across the country. As CGRS has done with so many asylum cases based on domestic violence, we assisted the attorney in this case (Roy Petty) with briefing and strategy, and we filed an amicus brief in support of the client.

CGRS has pioneered this area of the law in two internationally known cases – starting with the case of Rody Alvarado, Matter of R-A-, and then in Matter of L-R-. CGRS Director Karen Musalo, working with her colleagues at CGRS, represented both women. In 2004, and again in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) set forth its position that women fleeing intimate partner violence can qualify for asylum and agreed to grants of asylum in R-A- and L-R-, respectively. These were important victories, signaling that these cases are viable, but they did not set precedent. Now, for the first time, we have binding precedent to support domestic violence survivors who seek protection in the United States.

Continue reading here.

CERD Issues Its Concluding Observations on the United States

By: Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC)

PRRAC

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has issued its Concluding Observations on U.S. compliance with the CERD treaty, reflecting many of the concerns raised by the delegation of U.S. civil and human rights groups that came to Geneva to testify.  We were especially pleased to see the strong recommendations (pp. 6-7) on U.S. housing and education policy (issues where PRRAC had submitted coalition comments).  Stay tuned for Megan Haberle’s report on the CERD review in the next Poverty & Race, and thanks to the U.S. Human Rights Network for coordinating a successful advocacy effort.

Click here for the full report.

Moldovan Legal Professionals Trained on Fighting High-Level Corruption

Moldovan Conference

By: American Bar Association

From May 4–10, six Moldovan legal professionals attended the Central and Eastern European Law Initiative Institute’s second regional anti-corruption training with support from the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). ABA ROLI also selected the Moldovan participants, including two prosecutors, a judge and a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) trainer, who were accompanied by an ABA ROLI staff attorney. A total of 24 lawyers, including from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine, attended the Prague workshop.

The interactive course addressed several aspects of investigating high-level corruption, including tracking money, interviewing witnesses, and gathering and presenting evidence. The training employed a case study, allowing participants to work in smaller groups to accomplish various tasks, such as identifying potential corrupt practices, developing an investigation plan, identifying and interviewing witnesses and defendants, analyzing financial data and presenting evidence in court.

Continue reading here.  Photo credit: American Bar Association

Evictions Soar in Hot Market; Renters Suffer

NYT_Ben Brewer_eviction

By: Shaila Dewan, New York Times

Just after 7 a.m., sheriff’s deputies knocked on the door of the duplex apartment, holding a fluorescent orange eviction notice. The process was quick and efficient. A moving crew began to carry out the family’s possessions and stack them neatly at the curb. Celeste Wilson, the tenant, appeared on the front step in pajama pants.

Ms. Wilson, 36, explained that the family had missed a month of rent when her husband fell ill, so the landlady filed for eviction. Knowing they would be thrown out, the Wilsons had already found a new home, paying a double security deposit and an extra $300 because of the open eviction case.

“It’s the stability I worry about,” Ms. Wilson said, watching her five children trickle out into the yard that had been their playground for five years. “They’ve got to start off fresh, get new friends, new neighbors. It might not show now, but maybe later on in life.”

Continue reading herePhoto credit: Ben Brewer of the New York Times

Opportunity for Service! Northwest Justice Project Accepting Letters of Interest for Its Board of Directors

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By: WSBA Board of Governors

The WSBA Board of Governors (BOG) is accepting letters of interest and résumés from members interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Justice Project (NJP). There are three attorney positions open for three-year terms commencing January 2015 and ending in December 2017. Notice of BOG action will follow its November 2014 meeting.

The Northwest Justice Project is a 125-attorney statewide not-for-profit law firm providing free legal services to low-income people from 17 offices throughout Washington. NJP is funded primarily by the State of Washington and the federal Legal Services Corporation, with additional support from the Legal Foundation of Washington. NJP’s 2014 budget is $22 million.

Board members play an active role in setting program policy, assuring adequate oversight of program operations, and must have a demonstrated interest in, and knowledge of, the delivery of high-quality civil legal services to low-income people.

NJP’s Board is a working board. Board members are expected to attend quarterly meetings in Seattle normally on the last Saturday of January, April, July, and October. Board members also serve actively on one or more standing committees. The Board typically holds a one-day annual Board retreat, which may be held in conjunction with an appropriate equal justice conference. Attorney Board members are expected to participate and support NJP efforts in legal community activities and limited resource development efforts. Travel and lodging expenses are reimbursed, as appropriate.

Please submit letters of interest and résumés on or before Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, to WSBA Communications Department, 1325 Fourth Avenue #600, Seattle, WA 98101-2539; or email barleaders@wsba.org.

Do You Enjoy Free Film Screenings? Check Out These Amazing Films!

April 21: Special Free Screening of “Documented” in Seattle

Monday, Apr. 21, 2014
6:30 PM, Siff Uptown Cinema, 511 Queen Anne Avenue North, Seattle, WA
Q&A with Jose Antonio Vargas and Eric Liu after the film

Tickets are FREE, but please RSVP online here.

In 2011, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times Magazine. DOCUMENTED chronicles his journey to America from the Philippines as a child; his public struggle as an immigration reform activist/provocateur; and his journey inward as he reconnects with his mother, whom he hasn’t seen in 20 years. A broken immigration system leads to broken families and broken lives. 

Click here for more information.

April 22: Social Justice Tuesday- American Indian Children and Families:  Understanding the History and Experiences that Inform Native People’s Interactions with U.S. Legal Systems

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12:30-1:20, Room 133

Speaker:  Dian Million, Ph.D.  Associate Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington.

Hosted by: The Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project

Description:  Dr. Million (Tanana Athabascan) is a poet, professor and scholar. Her research explores the politics of knowledge, colonialism, human rights and healing.  By placing community health in the context of race, class, gender and identity issues, Dr. Million shares perspectives on Native family life that will enhance cultural competency, challenge assumptions, and illuminate the connections among social and political conditions.  Her insights into the tensions between Native sovereignty and American governing practices are relevant to lawyers and law students working with tribes, government policy, family or criminal law, as well as anyone who is interested in a more complex and honest view of U.S. history.

Please RSVP to gatespsl@uw.edu by 12 noon on Monday, April 21 if you’d like lunch.

April 23: Webinar on Using Human Rights to Advance Racial Justice: An Introduction to the Race Treaty

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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014
2:00 – 3:30 PM EDT

Join the U.S. Human Rights Network’s CERD Taskforce for an introductory webinar on the “Race Treaty,” also known as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and the upcoming review of the U.S. Government by the U.N. CERD Committee (PRRAC is a member of the USHRN CERD Task Force).  The webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 2:00-3:30 pm EDT.

Click here to register.

April 23: An Evening with Rwanda: “Finding Hillywood” Film Screening & More

Finding Hillywood Poster

Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014
6:30 – 9:00 PM
Ethnic Cultural Center Theater (3940 Brooklyn Ave NE)
Admission: Free

Join us for an inspiring and informative film event and discussion to explore Rwanda’s history of transitional justice and healing since the 1994 genocide.

The program includes:

Transitional Justice in Rwanda: A short film by Rwandan youth about transitional justice in Rwanda, and a few video clips from interviews with personnel from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. (www.tribunalvoices.org)

Finding Hillywood: A one-hour feature documentary about the beginning of Rwanda’s film industry, and a real life example of how art heals. (http://findinghillywood.com)

Discussion: A conversation with Leah Warshawski, Director of Finding Hillywood

For more information, click here.

April 24: Webinar on Next Steps in Bringing Home the Human Right to Housing: Scholarship from the Symposium on the Human Right to Housing

national law center housing

Webinar 12:00 – 1:00 PST

To celebrate the release of a special edition of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Law Review with articles curated for last April’s Bringing Economic & Social Rights Home: The Right to Adequate Housing in the U.S. symposium, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Columbia Law School Human Rights Law Review, and the Northeastern University School of Law Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy will be hosting a webinar on April 24, 2014, at 3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1 Mountain, 12 noon Pacific.  

The articles in this special issue of the Human Rights Law Review provide an important complement to, and expansion of, the last year’s symposium discussion, and the webinar will offer a chance to hear the authors summarize their contributions and answer questions. 

Speakers include: 

  • Maria Foscarinis, Executive Director, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, NLCHP
  • Eric Tars, Director of Human Rights & Children’s Rights Programs, NLCHP
  • Heather Maria Johnson, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Southern California
  • Tristia Bauman, Senior Counsel, NLCHP
  • Risa Kaufman, Executive Director, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School
  • Heidi Wegleitner Staff Attorney, Legal Aid of Wisconsin; District 2 Supervisor, Dane County Board of Supervisors
  • Lucy Williams, Professor of Law & Faculty Co-Director, Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, Northeastern Law School
  • Brittany Scott, Campaign Coordinator, National Economic & Social Rights Initiative

Come and get a taste of the new thoughts, and ask questions of the authors!  Click here to register.

April 25: Washington State Society of Healthcare Attorneys Presents Its Annual Hospital & Health Seminar

(c) University of Kansas - Medical Legal Partnership

Friday, Apr. 25, 2014
Seattle University School of Law, Sullivan Hall

The Washington State Society of Healthcare Attorneys (“WSSHA”) was founded in 1973. It is operated exclusively for educational and charitable purposes, to provide an opportunity for legal advisors in the health field to meet and exchange information and ideas, to conduct legal seminars of interest to such attorneys, and to provide a central agency for the exchange of information of a legal nature in the health field.

This is a great networking and learning opportunity.  The registration fee for students is $115.  If you want to attend, you should send in your check as soon as possible along with the form that you can print off of the website. This seminar is well attended by the healthcare attorneys of Seattle and a few from Spokane and Oregon so it’s a great chance to connect with attorneys who practice in the health law field.

Click here to view the brochure.  The registration form is on the brochure itself.

April 28: National Commission on Voting Rights Event at the UW Law School

Nat'l Commission on Voting Rights

Monday, Apr. 28, 2014
4:30 – 7:30 PM, RM 138

In 2005, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, on behalf of the civil rights community, convened and staffed the National Commission on the Voting Rights Act (NCVRA), an eight-member blue ribbon panel which produced a fact-based report: Protecting Minority Voters: the Voting Rights Act at Work 1982 – 2005.

The Lawyers’ Committee, in close collaboration with state and local organizations, will organize the 2013-14 hearings.  The Commission will conduct fact finding hearings across the country that will look closely at the record of discrimination, election administration problems, voter registration procedures, and other challenges that voters are facing.

The Lawyers’ Committee will reach out to our partners in each of the states to work with the Commission in organizing the hearings. In addition to National Commissioners, we will invite local leaders to serve as guest commissioners. Voting attorneys, grassroots leaders, social scientists, and the public will be invited to testify. The hearing will be organized with Commissioners as questioners and panels of witnesses providing testimony. Each witness will be asked to submit a written statement (with the length at the discretion of each witness) in advance of the hearing.  During the hearing, witnesses will give oral testimony based on their written statement.  Commissioners sitting on the panel will ask questions on specific issues relating to each witnesses oral and written testimony. The hearings will also include periodic open sessions for audience members and voters to speak about their voting experience. Hearings will be held from November 2013 to spring 2014.

RSVP online here.

April 30: Dr. Bernard LaFayette “Sit-ins, Freedom Rides, and Selma: What the Civil Rights Movement and Nonviolence Tell Us Today

Dr. Lafayette & MLK

Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2014
10:00 AM
School of Social Work Building, 4101 15th Ave. NE, RM 305

In 1958, 18-year-old Bernard LaFayette enrolled at American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee. LaFayette is an African American and had lived in Florida and Pennsylvania: in the former, he was raised with segregation, in the latter, he attended integrated public schools. When he arrived at seminary, he roomed with John Lewis, now the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district. Within weeks, Lewis convinced LaFayette to dive into the practice of nonviolence, and they would go on to participate in some of the most crucial moments in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

In this talk, Dr. LaFayette, having earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University, will speak about his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement, the theory and practice of nonviolence, and our responsibilities today — all with a boundless optimism and perhaps a song or two.

For more information, click here.

May 10: Presentation on Race & Jury Service: Is Jury Selection Fair?  Are All Communities Represented?

Franklin County Voter Registration Map

Saturday, May 10, 2014
4:30 PM, Gates Hall RM 119

Co-sponsors: Northwest Justice Project, Whitman College, Center for Public Service Law-UW Law

Interested in the issue of minority jury representation?

On Saturday May 10th, at 4:30 pm at the University of Washington Law School, students from Whitman College’s State of the State of Latinos in Washington will be presenting their project analyzing the jury selection system in Eastern Washington. In addition, attorneys from Washington Appleseed and the Northwest Justice Project will present the work they are doing to better understand jury selection and the role that academic researchers, attorneys, and students can play in increasing minority jury participation. The location will be in Room 119 in Gates Hall, light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Please feel free to contact David Morales at the Northwest Justice Project, if you have any further questions.