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

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.