Direct Action Around the Clinic, a DP & CRT

August 30, 2013

To Whom It May Concern at SU Law and UW Law:

RE: UW Law (and now SU’s) new Prosecution Clinic

UW Law administrators and faculty have chosen to pursue a collaborative effort with the King County Prosecutor’s Office to convict people for misdemeanors in King County.  Recently we learned SU students will be able to participate also.

The administration says it is a great chance for students to develop their advocacy skills, and that they’ll be sensitized to topics of race and the law, and racial disparities in particular.

However, we know better.

We know that just two months ago the KCPO lost–on appeal–a case for rejecting jurors based on race.

We know that the year before that, a senior prosecutor–Konat–got called out by the Washington Supreme Court for telling jurors that they shouldn’t pay any mind to the black witnesses.

We know through these and other interactions that the KCPO is focused on simply fighting full force, with little to no awareness about racial justice.

UW Law doesn’ t see a problem with all this.  That’s not surprising in an institution where we have three African American faculty.  We have no diversity plan.  No critical race theorist.  And though students have been pushing for a DP and a CRT for years, we have been consistently ignored by the administration and faculty.

The time has come for us to say enough is enough.

We are organizing for a direct action against UW Law, against the Prosecution Clinic and for a Diversity Plan and a Critical Race Theorist at UW Law.  The time, date, and location are to be determined.  We know we will have music, poetry, representatives of concerned community groups…

How can we stop this Clinic?  How can we promote racial justice?  How can we convince an almost-exclusively white and privileged institution like UW Law that they shouldn’t team up with the KCPO?

When the Supreme Court came down on Konat’s case two years ago, the NAACP called for him to be fired.  Instead he was allowed to use up all his vacation time, keep making that $142K/yr and then quietly leave the office just last year.

No.  No more quiet.  No more, “we don’t have money for a diversity plan,” no more one-sided support of the prosecutor, no more intentional blindness with lips blandly referencing “The New Jim Crow” and thinly excusing their pre-determined course of action by alleging an awareness of “racial disparities.”

The time for action is now.  Please email us at uwlawracialjustice@gmail.com to get involved.

Yours,
UW Law Students

Expanding Injustice

We recently received word that Seattle University students will also be participating in the ill-conceived UW Law Prosecution Clinic.

 

This comes just two months after the King County Prosecutor’s Office lost a Batson Case on appeal, meaning that the KCPO had rejected jurors solely because of their race.  And yet UW and now SU expect KCPO to teach us about racial disparities.

More coming soon on the Batson case.