Tag Archives: Civil Survival Project

Lawsuit Challenges State and Counties to Refund Financial Penalties for Drug Charges

by Paul Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


A nonprofit representing formerly incarcerated Washington residents is suing the state and its 39 counties in an attempt to address one of the loose ends left by the state Supreme Court’s landmark opinion in February ruling all simple drug possession charges unconstitutional.

The Seattle-based Civil Survival Project filed the class action lawsuit on Thursday, April 15, in an effort to stop the state, county superior courts, and private contractors from collecting Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) tied to simple drug possession convictions. An LFO is a financial penalty that a court imposes when convicting a person of a crime; the penalty is broken into components, including a fee to cover the costs of filing the criminal case and a fee to cover the collection of a DNA sample.

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