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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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The death penalty is arbitrary, unfair, and racially biased.  The ACLU of Washington argued before the Washington Supreme Court to end it.


News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
Okanogan County has paid a settlement of $35,000 to a young woman for subjecting her to an illegal strip search at the county's juvenile detention facility in 1999. The young woman was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. The County changed its strip search policy for juveniles shortly after the ACLU initially contacted officials about the matter.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, November 2, 2009
Seeking to promote open government, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington today filed a lawsuit seeking public documents about the City of Seattle's stance in contract negotiations with the Seattle Police Guild.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, August 12, 2005
In June 2005 the Tacoma City Council approved by a 6-2 vote a major reform of police accountability by establishing an independent auditor and a citizen review board. The vote culminates over two years of work by the Police Accountability Working Group, created by the Tacoma Human Rights Commission to draft a proposal for citizen oversight.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 7, 2003
From the vantage point of almost two decades of observation, and countless meetings with local officials and their staff, the single most important overriding message I would like to leave with you is the following: "stop the giveaways." By this I mean, the City should stop giving away in the collective bargaining process the public’s ability to establish a stronger and more effective police accountability system.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
In a first-in-the-nation case, the Washington Supreme Court today unanimously ruled that police must obtain a warrant in order to track an individual's movements by Global Positioning Systems (GPS). The ruling agrees with the contentions of an amicus brief submitted in the case by the American Civil Liberties Union.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, October 28, 2002
In settlement of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has agreed to improve its policies for handling requests for documents by the public. The ACLU sued the SPD in 2001 for violating the state Public Disclosure Act by failing to disclose a key document relating to police enforcement of the City's "no protest zone" during the World Trade Organization demonstrations in 1999.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, December 31, 2001
The ACLU is working with attorneys around the state to develop constitutional challenges to a new statute that unfairly punishes car owners for actions by others. An amendment to state law adopted in 1998 authorizes police to impound for 30 to 90 days vehicles driven by a person with a suspended license - even if the driver doesn't own the car.