King County Clerk v. Encarnacion

This court case is active

The ACLU filed amicus briefs in both the Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court, supporting tenants who sought to redact their names from the online court index of a dismissed unlawful detainer case.  The tenants tried to replace their names with their initials, after they discovered that landlords refused to consider their applications even though the unlawful detainer case was wrongfully filed.  The trial court agreed that the tenants had a compelling interest in protecting their access to housing and sealed the records, but the court of appeals stated that access to housing was not a compelling interest and that the tenants’ interests could not be distinguished from any other person whose case had been dismissed.  The ACLU argued that the standard for redacting names in a court index is different than the standard for closing a court proceeding and that a tenant could redact even if his or her interest was not unique.  The ACLU encouraged the court to accommodate both the  tenant’s interest in access to housing and the right to public oversight of the judiciary.  The Supreme Court heard argument in summer 2013, and the case remains pending.

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