Skip to:


Law and the Justice System

The rule of law is a prerequisite for a democratic civil society. A good government provides for the safety, security and justice for all, with care, fairness, and respect for each individual.

We believe:

  • All people are equal before the law. Criminal justice and human rights are inseparable;
  • Nonviolent conflict resolution, education, youth programs, health care, social services, rehabilitation, and living wage jobs will reduce crime and violence;
  • Asset seizures should be based on court conviction rather than mere arrest or presumption of guilt;
  • Drug treatment and education should be used to reduce drug abuse;
  • In the stringent enforcement of laws regulating the purchase and ownership of firearms, while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners;
  • Guns are a public health issue;
  • In adequate state funding for indigent defendants in criminal cases;
  • In DNA testing to free the innocent and convict the guilty;
  • The criminal justice system is the appropriate venue for prosecution of all violent crimes, including acts of terrorism;
  • In the separation of church and state;
  • In supporting the efforts of well-trained first responders.

We call for:

  • Restoring habeas corpus for citizens and non-citizens, completely and without compromise;
  • Abolition of capital punishment;
  • Full funding of the Violence Against Women Act, services to crime victims, and programs to prevent sexual violence;
  • Ending the “war on drugs,” and legalizing use of marijuana and subjecting it to reasonable regulation and taxation;
  • The legalization of marijuana nationwide;
  • Banks to be immediately authorized to handle proceeds from marijuana sales in states where it has been legalized;
  • Convictions for simple possession of marijuana to be expunged;
  • Research, legislation and enforcement measures to address the disproportionate imprisonment of persons of color, and eliminating all forms of racial profiling by law enforcement and in sentencing;
  • Accountability in law enforcement through an effective review process that is independent, open, responsive and thorough, and that includes meaningful civilian participation which is empowered to order corrective action
  • Restoring FBI funding to investigate white collar crime;
  • Adequate punishments for white collar crime, including appropriate fines and jail time commensurate with the damage done to society;
  • Ending the privatization of prisons, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and juvenile detention facilities;
  • The creation and funding of alternatives to incarceration within the criminal justice system at both the pre-conviction stage (such as drug, veterans, or mental health courts) and the post-conviction stage (such as community programs);
  • Comprehensive gun-sale background checks, including criminal, mental health, and domestic violence checks, and waiting periods, applicable to gun shows and other transactions; mandatory registration and licensing; required safe gun storage; safety training for all gun owners; a limit on volume buys of firearms by an individual; and a total ban on assault weapons and oversized ammunition magazines;
  • Enforcement of criminal negligence laws that hold adults responsible for safeguarding guns around children;
  • Crime prevention and rehabilitation rather than incarceration alone. Prisons should provide opportunities for inmates, such as education (including post-secondary education), training, therapy, and meaningful work;
  • Rapid and consistent follow-up from probation services for violations;
  • Increased training of all law enforcement on how to recognize and manage veterans and others who have seizures and mental-health events;
  • Allowing foreign nationals to have access to consular officials if accused of a crime;
  • Providing of a skilled interpreter and immigration assistant and community advocacy representative prior to the signing of a document that impacts immigration status
  • All U.S. Territories and protectorates, including the Mariana Islands and Guantanamo Bay, to be subject to U. S. law including labor laws, due process, habeas corpus, and laws against illegal detention;
  • Reformation of the current criminal justice system in light of modern concepts developed since the system was last reviewed in 1965;
  • Investigation and prosecution of illegal actions of elected officials and corporate officers no matter how high their office;
  • Repealing the USAPATRIOT Act;
  • Human rights and open hearings for all immigrants;
  • Enforcement of the Hate Crime Prevention Act;
  • Binding plea bargains;
  • Our nation to invest in children and work actively to abolish poverty in order to eliminate a major cause of crime. We must break the school-to-prison pipeline;
  • Humane treatment of all prisoners, including strong restrictions on solitary confinement;
  • Increased crisis intervention training (CIT) of all law enforcement officers;
  • Ongoing cultural sensitivity training for all public service government agencies;
  • Providing adequate funding for indigent defendants in criminal, civil, and family court cases;
  • Congress and the U.S. Justice Department to investigate possible war crimes by the Bush administration;
  • The right to a civil trial by jury;
  • Increased government efforts, including data collection, and legislation to address adequate minority representation on juries;
  • State and local efforts to train law enforcement to treat sex workers as victims.

We oppose:

  • Mandatory sentencing;
  • Exemption from independent investigation or prosecution of any government officer responsible for ordering or participating in violation of domestic or international law;
  • Excessive use of force by police and demand restraint in their dealing with peaceful assembly and protest;
  • “Stand Your Ground” laws that legalize shooting-first;
  • Coerced labor for detainees and inmates;
  • Prisons outsourced out of state;
  • Militarization of police;
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) intervention in our local court system;
  • The use of prison labor on any contract bid in the State of Washington that competes with private enterprise;
  • Mandatory prayer in public schools;
  • The Federal Government’s collection of personal electronic meta-data without a warrant;
  • The use of drone technology for surveillance of individuals except when deployed by law enforcement only with a legal warrant, in an emergency, or when there are specific and articulable grounds to believe that the drone will collect evidence relating to a specific criminal act
  • Prison over-crowding;
  • Government spying on citizens without a legal warrant, which is a violation of the 4th Amendment against search and seizure.