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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, May 12, 2014
Assurances about lethal injection rest on the premise that inmates are sedated and unconscious before other excruciating drugs are administered. The horrifying experiences of recent executions make clear these assurances are false. The drugs used in recent executions produced not a sleep into death but many wakeful minutes of struggle and pain. Such executions are clear violations of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and require investigation and action.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, April 4, 2014

Federal immigration authorities have released hunger strikers from solitary confinement at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. The action came after the ACLU-WA and Columbia Legal Services sued U.S. Immigration and Enforcement for retaliating against hunger strikers. 

News Release, Published: 
Thursday, April 3, 2014

The ACLU-WA and Columbia Legal Services are seeking a court order to prohibit federal immigration authorities from punishing  hunger strikers by confining them isolation cells at the NW Detention Center. 

Published: 
Monday, March 24, 2014
Last week we told you about the new federal data that highlights the problem of students of color and those with disabilities being systematically denied access to education by being suspended and expelled at rates 3 to 2 times higher respectively than there peers.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Eileen Farley, Director of the Northwest Defenders Division of the King County Department of Public Defense, has been selected as Public Defense Supervisor for Mt. Vernon and Burlington.  The position was established by the U.S. District Court in Seattle in its December 2013 ruling that the cities’ public defense system deprives indigent persons who face misdemeanor criminal charges of their fundamental right to assistance of counsel. The court required the cities to hire a supervisor to ensure their defense system complies with constitutional standards, and the court is keeping jurisdiction over the case for three years while reforms proceed.

Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons in Washington

Document, Published: 
Monday, February 10, 2014

The ACLU of Washington and Columbia Legal Services issued a report examining the unfair burdens court-ordered debts impose on poor people in Washington. “Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons: The Ways Court-Imposed Debts Punish People for Being Poor” exposes a counterproductive system and calls for reform.

Report Exposes Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons in Washington

Document, Published: 
Monday, February 10, 2014

The ACLU of Washington and Columbia Legal Services today issued a report examining the unfair burdens court-ordered debts impose on poor people in Washington. “Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons: The Ways Court-Imposed Debts Punish People for Being Poor” exposes a counterproductive system and calls for reform.

News Release, Published: 
Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 5, 2013

In a resounding ruling for fairness in the criminal justice system, the U.S. District Court in Seattle has found that the public defense system of Mt. Vernon and Burlington deprives indigent persons who face misdemeanor criminal charges of their fundamental right to assistance of counsel.

Published: 
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The extraordinary expense of Washington’s death penalty cases was in the news again this month, with taxpayers on the hook for most of the cost.

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