Category: News & Updates

New Law Helps Property Owners Remove Squatters

On May 10, 2017, Governor Inslee signed a new law, which will allow property owners in certain circumstances to have squatters removed from their property by law enforcement immediately, rather than having to navigate the lengthy eviction process.

SB 5388, which passed with unanimous, bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, took effect July 23, 2017.

Specifically, the law allows property owners to file a declaration that a trespasser – not a tenant – is on their property. This allows law enforcement to remove the person immediately, unless that person can prove they were a legal tenant within the past 12 months.

A property owner, or their agent, may initiate a law enforcement investigation and request the removal of an unauthorized person or persons. They must declare:

  • They are the owner of the premises
  • The individuals entered and remain illegally on the property
  • That the individual(s) were not a tenant at the property in the past 12 months
  • The individual(s) were not authorized to enter or remain on the property
  • That they have demanded that the unauthorized individual(s) vacate the property, but the individual(s) failed to do so

You can download a free copy of the Request to Remove Trespasser form here.

Any false declarations made by an owner or their agent under this law may bring a cause of action against them for false swearing or for making a false or misleading statement to a public servant, both of which are gross misdemeanors, and the declarant may be held liable for actual damages, costs, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Law enforcement must provide the individual(s) with a reasonable opportunity to secure and present any credible evidence, which the officer must consider, showing that the person or persons are tenants, legal occupants, or the guests or invitees of tenants or legal occupants.

If it is determined by law enforcement that the individual(s) are on the property illegally, they may then proceed with removing them from the premises, with or without an arrest being made, and order them to remain off the premises or be subject to arrest for criminal trespass.

Read the Official Press Release here.

The Library Welcomes Two New Board of Trustees Members

The Public Law Library of King County would like to welcome its two newest Board of Trustees members: The Honorable Susan Amini and Miriam R. Gordon, Esq.

Judge Susan Amini was appointed to the King County Superior Court bench on May 2, 2013, by Governor Jay Inslee. Judge Amini was born in Iran and developed a love for the American legal system early in life. Judge Amini is the first judge of Middle Eastern descent in Washington State history. A graduate of the University Of Maryland School Of Law, Judge Amini began her legal career as a public defender for Associated Counsel for the Accused in south King County. Four years later, in 1994, she opened her own law practice in downtown Bellevue, focusing first on criminal defense but later expanding into family and immigration law. She represented clients from over fifty countries in matters ranging from complex dissolution and custody disputes to asylum and Violence Against Women Act petitions. In 1994, Judge Amini also began serving as a Pro Tem Judge in King County.

In addition to her legal career, Judge Amini has served as a Hearing Officer for the Washington State Bar Association and as a trustee of the King County Bar Association. She also has served as a trustee of the Overlake Hospital Foundation, as a Human Services Commissioner for the city of Bellevue, and as a Rotarian. In 2010, she was honored by Northwest Asian Magazine as a Woman of Color Empowered.

Miriam R. Gordon is an Associate Attorney at Lasher Holzapfel Sperry & Ebberson. Specializing in Family Law, Ms. Gordon’s practice emphasizes marital dissolutions, property division, maintenance, parenting plans, child support, and post-dissolution issues. Ms. Gordon received her B.A. in 2008 from Brown University and her J.D. in 2013 from the University Of Washington School Of Law. In addition to her legal practice, Ms. Gordon is a member of the King County Bar Association and a Young Lawyer Division Volunteer.

New Library Catalog!

We have migrated to a new, more user-friendly library catalog! Check it out here.

New features include:

  • Mobile Friendly: A responsive mobile-friendly interface, so you can use the catalog on your smart phone.
  • Two-Week Loan Period for Book Checkouts: We have also changed our loan periods – books are now checked out, automatically, for two weeks, with no renewals. Instead of checking out a book for one-week and then having to call to renew the book, subscribers now check out books for two weeks at a time.
  • List of New Titles: Are you interested in the newest titles the library has to offer? Every month, the library will update its list of New Titles on the Catalog homepage with the most recent acquisitions, keeping you up-to-date on the law.
  • Purchase Suggestions: Not finding the book that you want or need? You can now make purchase suggestions to the library, letting us know what you would like us to include in our collection. If a suggested book is popular or highly relevant to the majority of our subscribers, we will take it into consideration when completing our acquisitions process.

Are you having trouble using our new catalog? Do you have questions about the services we offer? Feel free to call and speak with a librarian: (206) 477-1305.

New Art at the Library

The Public Law Library of King County has added new pieces to its art display, thanks to the generosity of the staff at 4 Culture.

4 Culture is the cultural services agency for King County, Washington. 4 Culture is committed to making our region stronger by supporting citizens and groups who preserve our shared heritage and creating arts and cultural opportunities for residents and visitors.

Through the generosity of the staff at 4 Culture, the law library is able to hand select and temporarily display artwork from King County artists that reflect our mission and values. Next time you visit the Public Law Library of King County, take a walk through the library and explore the new artwork, which includes this piece by Zack Bent.

© Zack Bent, 2006. Image courtesy of 4Culture.

ZACK BENT

Preaching to the Choir, 2006

Archival inkjet print

24 x 30 inches

The simple act of removing the title from the spine of a book gives new meaning to what remains. Part of the series entitled Answers to the Universe, Zack Bent’s photograph is a view into the complicated intersection of text and meaning. He changes the context and intended purpose of children’s science books, pushing them into the realm of grownup inquiry. Compare the title of the book to the title of the artwork.

 

If you are interested in viewing more local art, Gallery 4Culture presents monthly exhibitions featuring the work of artists residing in King County who do not have gallery representation. E4C, 4Culture’s storefront gallery, presents commissioned or existing digital artwork and 4Culture programming on four monitors with exterior speakers. Artwork for both galleries is selected annually through a jury process.

ADDRESS: 101 Prefontaine Place South, Seattle, Washington, 98104

How Libraries Became Public

Written by Barbara Fister. You can read the original version of this article here.

Of all of our cultural institutions, the public library is remarkable. There are few tax-supported services that are used by people of all ages, classes, races, and religions. I can’t think of any public institutions (except perhaps parks) that are as well-loved and widely used as libraries. Nobody has suggested that tax dollars be used for vouchers to support the development of private libraries or that we shouldn’t trust those “government” libraries. Even though the recession following the 2008 crash has led to reduced staff and hours in American libraries, threats of closure are generally met with vigorous community resistance. Visits and check-outs are up significantly over the past ten years, though it has decreased a bit in recent years. Reduced funding seems to be a factor, though the high point was 2009; library use parallels unemployment figures – low unemployment often means fewer people use public libraries. A for-profit company that claims to run libraries more cheaply than local governments currently has contracts to manage only sixteen of over 9,000 public library systems in the U.S. Few public institutions have been so impervious to privatization.

I find it intriguing that the American public library grew out of an era that has many similarities to this one – the last quarter of the 19th century, when large corporations owned by the super-rich had gained the power to shape society and fundamentally change the lives of ordinary people. It was also a time of new communication technologies, novel industrial processes, and data-driven management methods that treated workers as interchangeable cogs in a Tayloristic, efficient machine. Stuff got cheaper and more abundant, but wages fell and employment was precarious, with mass layoffs common. The financial sector was behaving badly, too, leading to cyclical panics and depressions. The gap between rich and poor grew, with unprecedented levels of wealth concentrated among a tiny percentage of the population. It all sounds strangely familiar.

The changes weren’t all economic. A wave of immigration, largely from southern and eastern Europe and from the Far East before the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, changed national demographics. Teddy Roosevelt warned of “race suicide,” urging white protestant women to reproduce at the same rate as other groups to make America Anglo-Saxon again. The hard-won rights of emancipated African Americans were systematically rolled back through voter suppression, widespread acts of terror, and the enactment of Jim Crow laws. Indigenous people faced broken treaties, seized land, military suppression, and forced assimilation.

How interesting that it was during this turbulent time of change when the grand idea of the American public library – a publicly-supported cultural institution that would be open to all members of the community for their enjoyment and education – emerged.

Like so many grand social projects dreamed up by our current tech billionaires, the first great public libraries were started by the Bill Gates and Koch brothers of their day. The architecture of these libraries emphasized that culture was the province of the elite, palaces guarded by lions and approached up flights of stairs. These impressive institutions were supposed to provide immigrants with a carefully curated introduction to the treasures of Western civilization, but the masses had their own ideas; they filled newspaper reading rooms and skirmished with librarians over adding popular literature to the canonical collection of uplifting literature. (Long story short: they won).

NYPL

But even these early palaces of culture had one distinguishing feature: they were designed to be free and public (though in the Jim Crow south, “the public” didn’t include African Americans, who were excluded from the libraries their taxes helped pay for until the civil rights era). Joshua Bates, a financier whose funds kick-started the Boston Public library, had three conditions for his gift: the library building should be an ornament to the city; it should include a large reading room with tables that could seat up to 150 people; and “it shall be perfectly free to all, with no other restrictions than may be necessary for the preservation of the books.”

These palatial libraries were ambiguously democratic. Though “free to all” might be inscribed over the doorway, their policies were often conservative, with ungenerous opening hours that discouraged workers with limited free time, closed stacks to prevent unsupervised browsing, and architectural hints that culture was a purifying pursuit, consistent with the City Beautiful movement which proposed serene and classical beauty as the cure for urban problems. Yet they were popular, and they laid the groundwork for a durable expectation that communities would have free public libraries. Toward the end of the 19th century, another vision for public libraries emerged, championed by women in towns across the country and boosted by another industrialist with a philanthropic bent. But that’s another story for another blog post.

This response to turbulent social stress would be unimaginable today. President Trump’s proposed budget completely defunds the Institute of Museum and Library Services and cuts LSTA grants to local libraries. Our new FCC commissioner has cut out a program that made internet access affordable for resource-poor schools and libraries, rolled back privacy protections so ISPs can get into the targeted advertising game, and now is attacking net neutrality rules so that our telecoms will be able to favor their content and limit access to competitors’ – or to sites that aren’t run by deep-pocket corporations.

County law libraries in Washington State, like the Public Law Library of King County, are open to the public but in fact receive no public tax dollars.  Unlike general public libraries, we lack the ability to levy taxes and instead rely almost entirely on fees assessed on paid civil filings in Superior and District court.   If you file a civil case in one of these courts and pay the filing fee, the law library in your county receives a very small portion of that fee.  If you use your county law library for some reason but don’t need to file a case, or do file a case but ask the court to waive your filing fee, you don’t pay anything for the law library’s services.

What made the vision of “free to all” so attractive in the late 19th century? Why now do we have to pay for “free” information services with our privacy and, ultimately, our freedom? And, given this dismal state of affairs, why do free public libraries persist?

(CC-licensed image of New York Public Library courtesy of ktbuffy.)

Librarians March for Science

On Earth Day, April 22, 2017, researchers, educators, students, and citizen scientists all over the world will take to the streets in celebration of science. The March for Science is an international, nonpartisan event organized to “champion robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity.” The movement has attracted broad support from over 60 partner organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Sigma Xi, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. The ACRL Board of Directors voted to partner with the March for Science and encourages ACRL members to attend.

The main event will be held in Washington D.C. at 10 a.m. with a teach-in and rally on the National Mall, followed by a march through the streets of DC. More than 400 satellite marches have also been organized in all 50 states, 40 countries, and across 6 continents.

Librarians will be well-represented at the march in D.C. and the satellite marches, to express their support for open scientific communication and evidence-based decision making.

When asked why they intend to march, these librarians responded:

“Stifling open communication of science limits the public’s right to know, with serious consequences for poor policy making and uninformed decisions regarding research funding, negligent enforcement of environmental regulations (or outright loss of environmental oversight), and nearly every aspect of everyday living. From the technology of the internet to basic agricultural practices, poor management of the science enterprise will adversely affect health and wellness, nutrition, education, the environment, innovation, job creation and production, and creativity, to name just a few areas of influence.” – Alison Ricker, Oberlin College

“I think evidence-based decision making is vitally important to democracy so any attempt to undermine science also attempts to undermine at least part of the foundations of democracy.”- John Dupuis, York University

“I’m a former scientists turned librarian, and I strongly believe that science literacy goes hand in hand with information literacy. The rise of people who refute facts – or believe in alternative facts – is distressing to me, as I believe we as a society can never reach our full potential without accepting certain basic, proven concepts.” – Maggie Savidakis-Dunn, Shippensburg University

“All information is not created equal – ignorance is not as good as knowledge, and “alt-facts” are not as good as facts. We have a responsibility as librarians to advocate for the truth and for the uncensored distribution of scientific data and communication.” – Emma Oxford, James Madison University

“I’m a science librarian. Scientific information and resources are put through a gauntlet of peer-review, and to say that such scientific studies cannot be trusted after going through that process is willful ignorance. As managers of information, we have to come together with scientists and clearly assert that things CAN be known – facts about our universe CAN be established beyond reasonable doubt – if we use appropriate, collaborative, scientific methods for gathering and analyzing data.” – Camille Mathieu, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

“Because I believe that science represents the future of America, and I believe in the privilege of exercising my voice as a citizen and supporter of science.” – Rachel Borchardt, American University

Join your library colleagues and march to celebrate the impact of science in our lives. The March for Science in Seattle will begin the morning of April 22nd, at 10:00am. It will begin with a celebration of Science, featuring speakers and events at Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill. The March will commence at noon. The March for Science will end at the International Fountain, north of the Seattle Center. Start to finish time will vary, but expect the journey to take around 60 minutes. Learn more about the March for Science in Seattle here.

King County Welcomes All

King County government has recently released a poster supporting the motivation behind the County’s Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan for 2016 – 2022.  As described by the County, the Strategic Plan “is a blueprint for action and change that will guide our pro-equity policy direction, our decision-making, planning, operations and services, and our workplace practices in order to advance equity and social justice within County government and in partnership with communities.” You can download a copy of this poster here.

New WestlawNext Content at PLLKC!

Subject Matter Forms

More than 600,000 up-to-date national and state-specific forms and other drafting resources, including text forms, official PDF forms (eforms), along with checklists and clauses.

Examples:

  • Motion for Extension of Time to Answer Interrogatories;
  • Prenuptial Property Agreements;
  • Form Drafting Guide – Checklist – Information to be obtained and matters to be considered when drafting a Will;
  • 9th Circuit Civil Appeals Toolkit including forms (Notice of Appeal, Appellant’s Brief, etc.)

Trial Court Documents, such as Pleadings, Motions and Memoranda:

Access civil and criminal court filings from state and federal jurisdictions.

Westlaw’s Full Treatise Collection! (sampling below)

Commercial Law:
  • Lawrence’s Anderson on the Uniform Commercial Code
  • Consumer Credit and the Law by Richard M. Alderman and Dee Pridgen
  • Consumer Protection and the Law by Dee Pridgen
  • Williston on Contracts 4th by Samuel Williston
Corporations:
  • Partnership Law and Practice by J. William Callison
  • Restatement of the Law – Charitable Nonprofit Organizations
  • Fletcher Cyclopedia of the Law of Private Corporations by William Meade Fletcher
Criminal Law:
  • Wharton’s Criminal Law & Criminal Evidence
  • Search and Seizure: A Treatise on the Fourth Amendment by Wayne LeFave
Estate Planning:
  • The Law of Trusts and Trustees: a Treatise covering the Law Relating to Trusts and Allied Subjects affecting Trust Creation and Administration: with Forms by Amy Morris Hess and George Gleason Bogert and George Taylor Bogert
Government Contracts:
  • Government Contract Guidebook by Steven W. Feldman
Land Use Law (Real Property):
  • American Law of Zoning by Patricia E. Salkin
  • Rathkopf’s The Law of Zoning and Planning by Edward H. Zieglar, Jr
Tax Law:
  • The Law of Federal Income Taxation by Jacob Mertens

 

Anyone can use WestlawNext for up to two hours a day at one of our library branch locations. Learn more about our legal research databases here.

Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice sends letter to Department of Homeland Security regarding immigration enforcement activities in Washington Courts

In response to a recent uptick in immigration enforcement activities around Washington courthouses, Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst sent a letter to Secretary John Kelly of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security expressing concerns and possible solutions. Full text of the letter can be found by clicking here.

Citing reports from lawyers and judges about this increased presence, Fairhurst said, “These developments are deeply troubling because they impede the fundamental mission of our courts, which is to ensure due process and access to justice for everyone, regardless of immigration status.

Highlighting that the fear of apprehension, even for those with lawful immigration status, may deter individuals from accessing courthouses, Fairhurst said, “Our ability to function relies on individuals who voluntarily appear to participate and cooperate in the process of justice.”

“When people are afraid to appear for court hearings, out of fear of apprehension, their ability to access justice is compromised,” she said, adding, “their absence curtails the capacity of our judges, clerks and court personnel to function effectively…and risk making our communities less safe.” Lawyers report that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities are occurring at courthouses in Clark, Clallam, Cowlitz, King, Skagit and Mason counties.

In addition to welcoming a meeting to discuss the issue further, Fairhurst encourages the Department to designate courthouses as “sensitive locations” – a term used by the Department of Homeland Security in Policy 10029.2 to guide and limit such activities in locations such as schools and universities, places of worship, community centers and hospitals.

While a “sensitive location” designation does not preclude enforcement actions on these sites, the policy states that these venues will generally be avoided to enhance the public understanding and trust to ensure people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services are free to do so without fear or hesitation.

Designating courts as sensitive locations will, “assist us in maintaining the trust that is required for the court to be a safe and neutral public forum. It will assure our residents that they can and should appear for court hearings without fear of apprehension for civil immigration violations,” wrote Fairhurst.

 

Read the original version of this article here.


Washington Courts Media Contacts:

Wendy K. Ferrell
Judicial Communications Manager
360.705.5331
e-mail Wendy.Ferrell@courts.wa.gov
Lorrie Thompson
Communications Officer
360.705.5347
Lorrie.Thompson@courts.wa.gov

Trump Budget Eliminates Legal Services Corporation Funding

President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget eliminates funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). In his first budget proposal released Thursday, Trump is cutting discretionary spending to pay for an increase in defense spending and the wall on the Mexican border, the Washington Post reports.

The LSC is among 19 agencies in line for total elimination of funding. Others agencies to be cut include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts, according to the Post and USA Today.

The American Bar Association is “outraged” that the Trump administration is calling to eliminate funding for the LSC and is calling upon members of Congress to restore it, ABA President Linda Klein said in a statement Thursday. Klein noted that LSC offices are in every congressional district and help 1.9 million people annually.

“Some of the worthy services the LSC provides include securing housing for veterans, protecting seniors from scams, delivering legal services to rural areas, protecting victims of domestic abuse and helping disaster survivors,” Klein wrote. “More than 30 cost-benefit studies all show that legal aid delivers far more in benefits than it costs,” Klein wrote. “If veterans become homeless, or disaster victims cannot rebuild, their costs to society are significantly more.”

Also supporting the LSC are the heads of more than 150 U.S. law firms, who told Trump in a letter that eliminating funding would hamper their ability to provide pro bono representation because they partner with legal aid groups receiving LSC funding.

“Eliminating the Legal Services Corp. will not only imperil the ability of civil legal aid organizations to serve Americans in need, it will also vastly diminish the private bar’s capacity to help these individuals,” the letter stated. “The pro bono activity facilitated by LSC funding is exactly the kind of public-private partnership the government should encourage, not eliminate.”

The LSC requested $502 million for fiscal year 2017 and received $385 million in appropriations for fiscal year 2016.

LSC President Jim Sandman remained optimistic about the outlook for the LSC in an interview with Bloomberg Big Law Business. He said he expected Congress to ignore Trump’s proposal and to grant the full $502 million funding request.

“We represent a fundamental American value—equal justice,” Sandman told Bloomberg. “That’s a value as old as the republic itself. Congress understands that.”

In an attempt to save the LSC, the American Bar Association is launching a grassroots campaign to engage constituents around the country to fight to save the LSC. Here is how it works:

  • Go to www.DefendLegalAid.org to register as Legal Aid Defenders and show your support for legal aid organizations.
  • Create a short message for our Members of Congress and submit your contact information to create a Legal Aid Defender card. The cards can be personalized by submitting a photo.
  • The ABA will print and hand-deliver every card to members of Congress (three cards for each participant – a House Member and two Senators).
  • The cards will be delivered by state delegations during ABA Day in Washington (April 25th – April 27th).

The Public Law Library of King County is a proud provider of free legal aid services, as well as a partner with several pro bono legal aid organizations in King County. Eliminating funding for the LSC will have a direct impact on our ability to continue offering legal aid services. Please consider defending the funding of LSC. For more information about how you can help legal aid in addition to becoming a Legal Aid Defender, please go to www.HelpLegalAid.org.

 

Read the original version of this article here.