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Debtor's Prison

Exposing Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons

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. Read More »
Chris Soghoian and Jared Friend

Reining in the Surveillance Society at Town Hall Seattle

The ACLU-WA hosted a talk at Town Hall Seattle on March 11th on Reining in the Surveillance Society.  Read More »

LFOs: Court Rules Courts Must Consider a Person’s Ability to Pay

The Washington Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that courts must take into consideration a defendant’s ability to pay before imposing discretionary legal financial obligations (LFOs). The ruling represents a significant step towards reforming a system that traps people in a cycle of poverty and incarceration. Read More »

Reproductive Freedom: A Fundamental Right to Choose or Refuse an Abortion

The ACLU of Washington has filed a lawsuit against Skagit Regional Health, a public hospital and clinics, for failure to comply with Washington’s Reproductive Privacy Act (RPA). Read More »
Breanne Schuster

Breanne Schuster: A Policy for Social Justice

Breanne Schuster went to college planning to be a doctor. But a pre-med class on the Evolution of Physiology at the University of Wisconsin helped change her mind.  “We got into disparities in health care based on race and income. I realized that’s what I wanted to do – policy work,” she recalled. Read More »
Kelly Anderson

Kelly Anderson: Making an Impact

Three years ago, when she was finishing her internship as an ACLU-WA Intake and Referral Counselor, Kelly Anderson already knew she wanted to come back. Then a U.W. Social Work major, she liked listening to and talking with individuals, and helping them work through their legal problems. Read More »
Claire McNamara

Claire McNamara: A Committed Advocate

On top of a full course load and student leadership roles at Seattle University Law School, Claire McNamara has joined the team at the ACLU of Washington. As a legal extern this term, Claire will assist staff attorneys with research, trial preparation and writing memoranda covering a wide range of issues – including public records law, mental health, and criminal justice. Read More »
I-502 Graphic

Eliminate the differences between I-502 and medical marijuana law

This op-ed first appeared in the Opinion section of the Seattle Times. As medical marijuana heads back to Olympia, legislators are bracing for a rerun of last session’s drama of makeshift dispensary operators and self-appointed patient advocates decrying any effort to rein in abuses of the law. Read More »

Body Cams: A Call for Careful Consideration

Recent public outcry for police accountability and reform has been sparked by an epidemic of police violence targeted disproportionately at people of color. Advocacy groups, the public, and the president alike have touted body worn cameras as a potential cure for police misconduct.  If officers wear cameras, runs the thinking, we would have a clear visual record of what actually happened and who was at fault in disputed encounters with civilians. Read More »
This hospital may not provide you care you need.

Pregnant? Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine, and Catholic Hospitals

Regardless of whether you have been pregnant or not, chances are you can recite the long list of things to avoid in pregnancy: alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, deli meats, unpasteurized cheese, and the list go on. Read More »