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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Washington justices: Immigration status usually inadmissible

Associated Press

OLYMPIA) – The Washington Supreme Court has adopted a rule saying a person’s immigration status is “generally inadmissible” in court.

The Seattle Times reported that proponents say the new rule, which takes effect next September, will help those who might fear bringing a civil suit or testifying in a criminal case because of their immigration status.

The measure is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. Under it, immigration status is inadmissible unless lawyers establish a compelling reason to raise it.

The rule tracks a 2010 decision from the justices regarding an illegal immigrant who broke bones when he slipped from a ladder on a construction site. He sued the scaffolding subcontractor because the ladder did not meet code requirements, but the jury declined to award him any money after hearing he was in the country illegally.

The court found that unfairly prejudicial and gave him a new trial. The second jury awarded him $2.6 million.