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Author: Nina Arranza-Riley

Lila Silverstein receives awards from ACLU and WSBA

Lila Silverstein wins ACLU's Civil Libertarian award. Congratulations!

Lila holding her well-earned award.

(October 29, 2020) — Lila Silverstein and Neil Fox receive the Civil Libertarian Award for their fruitful efforts on the Gregory case.

This fall, Washington Appellate Project attorney Lila Silverstein received two awards for her work on State v. Gregory, 192 Wn.2d 1 (2018). Lila and her co-counsel, Neil Fox, were honored with the Kathleen Taylor Civil Libertarian Award from the ACLU of Washington and the Distinguished Service Award from the Civil Rights Section of the WSBA.

In Gregory, Lila and Neil presented the Washington Supreme Court with a study they had commissioned by social scientists Katherine Beckett and Heather Evans, demonstrating that black defendants in Washington were significantly more likely than other defendants to be sentenced to death, after controlling for relevant case characteristics. Based on this study and legal arguments presented by Lila, Neil, and amici, the Supreme Court struck down Washington’s capital sentencing scheme as unconstitutionally arbitrary and racially biased.

In presenting the awards, these organizations also thanked Lila for her work on GR 37, a rule aimed at reducing race discrimination in jury selection, and her work with her Washington Appellate Project colleagues fighting the criminalization of poverty.

Congratulations, Lila, and thank you for your dedication to equal justice.

An article from the Seattle Times. Lila Silverstein and co-counsel Neil Fox are shown celebrating their win in State v. Allen Gregory.

Important News About CARES Act for Incarcerated Individuals

(October 13, 2020) — For those incarcerated and eligible for CARES Act relief payments, you may be affected by the recent order regarding stimulus payments.

Update (Oct. 20, 2020) – Deadline extended from Oct. 30 to Nov. 21.

On October 7, a federal court ordered that the IRS may not deny CARES Act economic impact payments to anyone solely because they are incarcerated.

This means, if eligibility requirements are met, an individual can now file a claim to receive the stimulus money to which they are entitled.

If this affects you, it is imperative that you act quickly. The deadline for submission is November 21, 2020.


Letters, with enclosed forms, were sent to all of our clients on October 9, 2020.


The following links provide detailed information.

(NEW) Seattle Times: Deadline extension to November 21, 2020

CARES Act Relief Information – Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP

Washington Post article on Federal Court order

“Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” – Free IRS tool to determine eligibility/receive economic payment


In Appreciation of Thomas Kummerow

Thank you Tom for 25 years at WAP!

(September 3, 2020) — The Washington Appellate Project thanks Tom Kummerow for 25 years of advocacy.

Tom Kummerow announced he will retire September 30.

Tom joined the Washington Appellate Project in 1995 after several years of practice in California. From the start, Tom has been a leader among his colleagues and a mentor to younger attorneys. Time and again, Tom has demonstrated his commitment to giving voice to his clients. Tom has been regularly called upon to handle the most serious and complex cases including several cases involving the death penalty. Tom has argued dozens of cases in the Washington Supreme Court, hundreds in the Court of Appeals, as well as many in the Ninth Circuit.

Tom’s colleagues at the Washington Appellate Project, past and present, thank Tom for his commitment, leadership, and friendship.