NJP News | Volume 3 | Issue 3
The Northwest Justice Project has a new mission statement--one that better reflects the purpose of our work and will inspire and guide us for years to come:

Combatting Injustice * Strengthening Communities * Protecting Human Dignity

I am grateful to all of our NJP colleagues across the state and to our Board of Directors for their contributions and feedback over the past several months. I want especially to thank our client eligible board members for their valuable perspective during this process. 

Veteran Bill Thompson
Veteran's Housing and Voucher Saved

Bill's landlord made a false allegation that Bill used marijuana in his home and served him with a 3-day eviction notice. A disabled veteran, Bill faced the loss of not only his home but also his Veteran's housing voucher. Without his voucher, he would be homeless.
 
NJP's Walla Walla office represented Bill at trial and proved the landlord lied to the court about returning Bill's rent payment, made after the eviction notice. Evidence showed this landlord had a practice of evicting tenants before the end of their lease, which caused them to forfeit their deposits. The court dismissed the eviction, saving Bill's home, and most importantly, his housing voucher.
Clallam Bay Correctional Center
Toddler Spared In-Prison Visits with Violent Father

The father of Susan's* child is serving a twelve-year sentence for a brutal domestic violence and hostage incident involving another woman. A Domestic violence shelter referred Susan to NJP after a court commissioner ordered that her two-year old have regular visits with his father at Clallam Bay prison. Susan was desperate. The child's father had sent Susan threatening notes through their child and had a history of convictions for violent crimes.
 
The commissioner's decision was in line with Department of Correction policies to maintain family ties through visitation to help offenders return to the community. NJP's Port Angeles office challenged the order and proved to the court that in this case family ties were non-existent. The court reversed the commissioner's decision and denied prison visits. The judge restricted the father's contact to (non-threatening) letters and directed him to get treatment and parenting education. Violation of this order would terminate all contact.

*not her real name
Decision: Homestead Rights Protect Condo Owners in Foreclosure from Eviction and Fees

Condominium owners, especially seniors and others on fixed or limited income, can breathe easier because they are now protected from immediate eviction by their condominium association when their unit is foreclosed. The Washington Supreme Court recently upheld a 2016 Court of Appeals decision that made clear a condominium owner may continue living in their home during the redemption period, the 8 to 12 months during which a homeowner can undo a foreclosure, without paying dues to the condominium association.
 
This decision ends years of condominium associations evicting or to trying to collect rent or dues from owners before the end of the redemption period. The Supreme Court denied the condominium association's request that it review and overturn the decision, letting the Court of Appeals decision stand. Congratulations to David Tarshes of NJP's Foreclosure Consequence Advocacy Team who challenged this practice after the Superior Court allowed the eviction of a senior citizen during the redemption period.
Attorneys Elizabeth Hendren of Northwest Justice Project (R) and Rhona Taylor of Columbia Legal Services (L)
"Reentry Simulation" Provides a New Perspective

What is it like for individuals released from prison as they try to meet their court and family obligations - and avoid going back to jail? On June 21, more than 60 judges, legislators, attorneys, and service providers took on new roles and spent several hours trying to navigate court, employer, probation, identification verification, and other stations that simulated challenges and barriers for people returning from prison.
 
Hosted by the Seattle Public Library and WA Reentry Task Force, this simulation provided an eye-opening experience for those involved. The Task Force has already been asked to run the simulation again by Seattle University School of Law, the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, and legislators among others.
 
NJP-RISE Attorney Elizabeth Hendren revised the Reentry Simulation (developed in Alabama) by adding domestic violence and family law issues, which added much greater depth to the experience. Many NJP staff provided substantive and logistical support for the simulation.
(L to R) NJP Board President Omar Vicente Barraza; Deputy District Director for Representative Adam Smith (D 9th), Debra Entenman; and Superior Court Judge (and former NJP Board President) David Keenan
New Kent Office Hosts Project Safety

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg was among many judges, judicial officers, and community partners who joined us on May 18 to celebrate the opening of NJP's newest office. Our Kent office hosts Project Safety, a collaboration with the King County Prosecutor's Office to provide civil legal services to domestic violence victims.
 
Project Safety is part of a statewide grant funded through the federal Victim of Crime Act (VOCA), administered by the Office of Civil Legal Aid. Our Kent office hosts three of NJP's 20 VOCA funded attorneys who are making it possible to expand access to civil legal aid to victims of crime across Washington. 
To learn more about our work contact Bryan Baker, Director of Development, like us on Facebook, and visit our website where you can access our annual reports and explore more of NJP. Also, please share NJP News with your friends and colleagues so they can join NJP in helping make equal justice a reality in Washington State.
 
Sincerely,    
C├ęsar E. Torres
Executive Director
Northwest Justice Project | 401 2nd Avenue South, Suite 407 | 206.464.1519 | nwjustice.org