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Criminal Justice

The Bill of Rights protects us against suspicionless searches and seizures. It guarantees due process to individuals who are accused of crimes and humane treatment to those who are incarcerated. The ACLU works to ensure that our criminal justice system indeed is just.

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Washington Needs Bail Reform:  No Money, No Freedom

Topic Resources

Published: 
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
After struggling with addiction and mental illness, Jayne Fuentes served her time, found a job and got her life back on track. She’s been sober and crime-free for three years, but one thing still dogs her: fear of being jailed or forced to do physical labor because she can’t afford to pay the government.
News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, October 6, 2015

An ACLU-WA lawsuit says Benton County is violating the Constitution by jailing, threatening to jail, or forcing manual labor on people who are too poor to pay court-imposed debts. 

Published: 
Thursday, September 10, 2015
The prosecutor has decided not to file charges against Pasco police officers who killed a man throwing rocks. The decision shows a clear need to amend our state law on use of deadly force by law enforcement, so that police can better be held accountable.
Published: 
Friday, September 4, 2015
The War on Drugs has left thousands of people locked up under sentencing laws now widely viewed as discriminatory and not based in fact. An ACLU-WA brief is taking aim at the effects of an egregious Drug War policy: the lengthy sentences being served because of the government’s wrongheaded distinction between crack and powder cocaine, resulting in a 100:1 crack-powder disparity in sentences.
Published: 
Thursday, August 27, 2015
The ACLU of Washington is concerned about the City’s announced plan to shut down hookah lounges across the city. We believe that city enforcement decisions that will deprive business owners of their livelihood should not be made in haste. Read the full letter to Seattle Mayor Edward Murray below.
Published: 
Monday, August 17, 2015
The WA Supreme Court has ruled that a judge can consider a defendant’s young age in imposing a sentence for a crime committed after his 18th birthday. The ruling affirmed what parents have known and scientists have confirmed: that the brain does not achieve full maturity until well past the age of 18.
Published: 
Monday, June 29, 2015
Agreeing with an ACLU of Washington amicus brief, the Washington Supreme Court has reaffirmed that individuals have the right to criticize how police are handling a situation and that such criticism cannot be the basis of a criminal conviction for obstruction.  

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