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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: 
Monday, June 22, 2015
In King County, the cost of keeping an inmate in jail is $192 a day, which translates into $70,000 annually. This means, the cost of holding a single individual in jail for a year greatly exceeds the $60,000 median household income of the citizens in King County who are paying to maintain the jail.   
Published: 
Thursday, April 30, 2015
For years, with seemingly little to no oversight, the Naval Criminal Investigative Services has been monitoring vast amounts of non-military U.S. Internet traffic and communications, looking for evidence of criminal activity.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, April 27, 2015

The ACLU of Washington is urging the Washington State Supreme Court to reject a proposal to increase monetary penalties for traffic infractions, saying that doing so will unfairly burden the poor and people of color.

News Release, Published: 
Thursday, April 16, 2015
The Everett City Council last night voted 4-2 to reject laws on panhandling that the ACLU of Washington had criticized as unconstitutional and unnecessary. The ACLU today praised the City Council’s action.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
The ACLU of Washington is urging the Everett City Council to reject proposals to restrict panhandling that it says are unconstitutional and unnecessary. The proposed amendments to city law are to be considered at a city council meeting this evening.
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, April 9, 2015

"Kennewick Police Officer Glenn Ball demonstrated the kind of behavior that no police chief should tolerate in his officers. The ACLU appreciates Chief Ken Hohenberg’s firm rebuke of the officer for his actions during the stop of Omar Abarca."

News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, April 8, 2015

An evaluation of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program has found that it is reducing recidivism rates for participants. Under LEAD, instead of prosecuting low-level drug and prostitution suspects, law enforcement officers divert them to treatment and other social services. 

News Release, Published: 
Friday, April 3, 2015

A federal judge has rebuked the State of Washington and ordered it to provide competency services speedily to people with mental illness in jails. The ruling came in a suit on behalf of incarcerated pre-trial detainees who have sat for weeks and months awaiting court-ordered services.

Published: 
Monday, March 23, 2015
How do you turn $41 into over $2,000?  Courts across Washington and throughout the U.S. have figured out how to turn small fines for routine traffic violations and other non-violent infractions into major debts for individuals without the means to pay.  HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver recently examined this subject, noting the ways in which differences in race and income levels are creating two justice systems: one for the rich and one for the poor.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, March 16, 2015

Under state law, whenever there is reason to doubt that individuals with mental disabilities is competent to stand trial, the court must order an evaluation by one of the state mental hospitals to determine competency and treat these individuals.  If competency is restored, the criminal case may proceed; if it is not restored, the criminal charges are dismissed.

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