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Court: Legal Status Can’t Be Used In Civil Cases

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File photo of a judge's gavel. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a judge’s gavel. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington Supreme Court approved a new conduct rule last week that bars attorneys from using a person’s legal status in the country to intimidate during civil cases.

The new rule is the result of years of lobbying by the Latino Bar Association of Washington, whose members were concerned attorneys and, in some cases, judges were using person’s legal status in the country openly in court to intimidate.

They say that mentioning a person’s legal status would coerce them against pursuing valid legal claims.

The rule does not affect criminal cases, but does cover civil matters, which include family disputes, personal injury claims, workplace cases, medical malpractice and other fields.

All attorneys licensed in the state must adhere to the new rule. It will go into effect on September 1.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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