This letter was sent by us to UW Law voting faculty the day before they were to vote on the clinic. Student and faculty pressure was so great, however, that UW Law administration delayed the vote just minutes after this email was sent. Note the link below to view the public disclosure documents from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and UW Law.
With respect and hope we students write you to preserve the best and most efficient use of our limited resources for the global common good.
To that end, we share that there are indeed multiple reasons to vote no on the prosecution clinic tomorrow, as well as information obtained via public disclosure requests.
Briefly, some reasons are:
1) Our criminal justice system today results in the highest rate of incarceration in the world and the discriminate incarceration of communities of color. This is an institution stating it is committed to the “global common good,” yet this clinic would have adverse collateral effects on vulnerable communities within the state. We don’t believe the educational benefits of this clinic outweigh the negative consequences.
2) The proponents of this clinic promised in an email last year that the “supervising attorney from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office must be someone who has a demonstrated commitment to addressing problems of racial disparity.” (emphasis added) There was also a requirement that the person have experience teaching. But as an advisory committee memorandum pointed out, the person chosen has no experience teaching and further “was not able to identify any prior actions that he has taken which demonstrate a commitment to addressing problems of racial disparity, mass incarceration, or wrongful conviction.”
3) Is this clinic really advantageous for students? With eight UW Law students housed at the KCPO, and a fully-funded clinical instructor from UW Law doing supervising work that would normally require more attorneys from KCPO, the clinic could actually discourage KCPO from hiring Rule 15 students to work and make money in their office. Instead, students would have to pay over $7,300 per quarter for tuition as a part of this clinic; why are we going to make students pay to play?
4) We value the clinical education currently available and the faculty who take on this difficult and courageous work. We know many of them have to raise funds to keep these clinics going. To that end, we don’t believe it is the best use of resources to fund a new clinic not in keeping with our school’s mission of the global common good. We don’t believe this school should pay a prosecutor $12,000 per month to teach a clinic when he has no experience teaching. This is not a good use of resources.
To view all of the documents thus far obtained via public disclosure request from UW Law, go to:
To view all of the documents thus far obtained via public disclosure request from KCPO, go to the same link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/h2iyu6i0bhv12fe/AABUN-Gk2ZDOk5UPtuIRIWfGa
Please vote no on the prosecution clinic tomorrow.
UW Law Students Opposed to the Prosecution Clinic