Immigration Law

Wa. Ethics Rule Bars Mention of Immigration Status for Coercive Purpose in Civil Cases

"Mentioning an individual's immigration status in court might not seem all that intimidating to a U.S. citizen.  But it can deter someone who is undocumented from pursuing a civil claim, or improperly influence a jury, the Washington Supreme Court says.  It clarified an existing state rule of legal ethics last week, which now includes a new comment that expressly prohibits lawyers from making a reference to a person's immigration status for the purpose of intimidating, coercing or obstructing that individual from participating in a civil matter.  The clarification is discussed in greater detail in a new comment (PDF) to Rule 4.4 of the Supreme Court's Rules of Professional Conduct.  The change will be effective September 1." - Martha Neil, ABA Journal, July 17, 2013.