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Former Washington state inmate wins appeal allowing her to take bar exam

November 18, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Former Washington state inmate wins appeal allowing her to take bar exam

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Former Washington state inmate wins appeal allowing her to take bar exam

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that a woman who was convicted of theft and drug crimes in 2011 should be allowed to take the state bar exam after she graduated from Seattle University Law School this year.

The Kitsap Sun reports that 40-year-old Tarra Simmons was sentenced to 30 months in prison six years ago, but on Thursday, she was given the OK to work toward becoming a licensed lawyer.

The State Bar Association board earlier this year denied Simmons’ request to take the test, saying she did not meet the “character and fitness” requirements to practice law because of her criminal history.

She appealed to the state’s higher court — and won.

Simmons was arrested three times within 10 months of using drugs and was eventually sent to prison, serving 20 months for delivery of Oxycodone, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Her attorney argued that Simmons accomplished a transformation that essentially made her an example of rehabilitation and the supreme court agreed.

In the ruling, the justices found Simmons “has the requisite moral character and fitness to practice law in the state of Washington” and she “shall be allowed to sit for the Washington bar examination.”

A jubilant Simmons thanked the Justices and her attorneys following the decision.

Following the hearing, Simmons thanked the justices and her attorneys.

“I take with me a lot of people who are yearning for that hope of a second chance,” Simmons said. “I always try to tell people I’m not an exceptional person, I’ve just been given exceptional opportunities, opportunities that many people in my community don’t have every day.”

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