NJP News | Volume 1 | Issue 5

On behalf of NJP's Board of Directors and staff, I extend to all of our friends and supporters our best wishes for a very happy and peaceful holiday season and a wonderful New Year.


Family Safety and a Home for the Holidays
Photo by Marina / CC
For her protection, and that of her child, Luz (not real name) decided to end her abusive marriage. She filed a dissolution action and the case was set for trial. Unfortunately, her mother became seriously ill and Luz had to quickly travel to Mexico to be by her mother's side during an emergency surgery. In Luz's absence, her husband appeared for trial and did not inform the court of the medical emergency. As a result, he secured final orders awarding him the family home and a Parenting Plan that gave him unrestricted visitation with their child, despite a history of domestic violence. 

Ruth Esparza of NJP's Wenatchee office represented Luz to have the orders set aside. Ms. Esparza then negotiated a settlement with a protective Parenting Plan that restricts the father's visitation, as required by law, and awards Luz and her child the family home. 

Snohomish County Paves the Way to Relicensing! 
NJP's Drivers' License Restoration project achieved an important breakthrough last week when the Snohomish County District Court announced the adoption of a "single payment plan" for disposition of all District Court tickets. This approach, which streamlines payments and facilitates restoration of suspended licenses, had been recommended by NJP to do away with drivers having to arrange payments and seek relief in multiple divisions of the County's District Courts.

Judge Douglas Fair announced the decision in a case handled by NJP-Everett Senior Attorney Yvette War Bonnet. Ms. War Bonnet has spearheaded representation of suspended drivers in the county and helped lead NJP's relicensing efforts statewide. Judge Fair reduced our client's overall fines and rolled the balance into a payment plan already in place in another court. Our client now has a single affordable payment and can drive legally again.

Scott Crain - NJP's New Statewide Advocacy Coordinator
Scott Crain 
We are very pleased to announce that Scott Crain has accepted the position of Statewide Advocacy Coordinator. A Pasco native, Mr. Crain began his legal career as an attorney in NJP's Pasco office. He quickly impressed us with his legal skills and was soon hired as NJP's first Medical Legal Partnership (MLP) attorney. Mr. Crain helped develop the partnership and provided the leadership that has made the MLP a tremendous success. 

Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Crain prevented the state from implementing an emergency rule that would have resulted in thousands of families with disabled children becoming homeless; filed suit to require the State of Washington to provide Medicaid coverage for critical ABD therapy for autistic children; and played a key role in NJP's Administrative Disqualification from Employment statewide advocacy focus. Mr. Crain is a highly skilled advocate for people in poverty and he will provide visionary leadership across a broad range of substantive areas for NJP advocacy and the Alliance for Equal Justice.

2016 Goldmark Equal Justice Intern to Help Incarcerated Mothers

Congratulations to Tarra Simmons, Seattle University School of Law 2017 J.D. candidate, for her selection as the Legal Foundation of Washington's 2016 Goldmark Equal Justice Intern. The Internship makes it possible for Ms. Simmons to work with NJP's Re-entry Initiated through Service and Education (RISE) Project for 10 weeks next summer. Ms. Simmons will assist RISE's statewide team in providing direct legal services with legal issues RISE clients face including family law, child support, housing, consumer debt, and legal financial obligations.

Ms. Simmons knows first-hand the difficulties of re-entry after incarceration as she herself has a conviction history. She has experienced the struggle to find adequate legal assistance to overcome the barriers to employment and housing facing ex-offenders. Thanks to the services and mentoring from Northwest Justice Project's RISE staff and volunteers, she enrolled in law school and has been active in raising awareness on re-entry issues. Ms. Simmons is on Seattle University School of Law Dean's List and also has a BS in Nursing, cum laude.

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.

CÚsar E. Torres
Executive Director