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Michael Fox papers, 1971-1974, 1994

Overview of the Collection

Fox, Michael J. (Michael James), 1944-
Michael Fox papers
1971-1974, 1994 (inclusive)
1971-1974 (bulk)
1.14 cubic feet (1 box)
Collection Number
5926 (Accession No. 5926-001)
Records relating to Michael Fox's role as a United Farmworkers of Washington lawyer
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Judge Michael James Fox was born in New London, Connecticut in 1944. During the 1960s, he became politically active in the Civil Rights Movement. While attending law school in Virginia, Fox was part of the Legal Aid Society—an organization that provided legal services to people from low-income backgrounds. After law school, his experience with the Legal Aid Society greatly influenced his decision to continue to help unrepresented people. Having also acquired Spanish speaking skills, Fox became interested in working with farmworkers. In 1965, the US Congress created the Office of Economic Opportunity which funded the Legal Services Program, a private non-profit corporation providing legal services to people living in poverty. In that same year, a strike of Filipino American grape pickers in Delano, California gained the coorperation of Cesar Chavez and others, who began organizing migrant agricultural workers in California. Using the same organizing model, workers in Washington State organized an independent branch of the United Farm Workers of Washington State in 1967. In 1969, Fox moved to Washington and discovered that the state had the fourth largest migrant farmworker population in the country. In the following year, the wildcat hop strikes began in the Yakima Valley. Fox connected with the organizers Tomás Villanueva and Lupe Gamboa and offered to provide legal representation to the emerging farmworkers union. As the UFW lawyer, Fox in Garza v. Patnode (1971) argued successfully that farmworkers had the right to organize. In that same year, Fox and Lupe Gamboa were arrested and convicted for trespassing onto the Roger’s Walla Walla labor camp. Their convictions were eventually overturned and the decision confirmed that tenants in labor camps had the right to meet with a union representative. Both cases were instrumental to the early efforts of the union (see State v. Fox, 1973 ). Fox continued to provide legal representation to the UFW unil 1988. In that year he became a King County Superior Court Judge. On the bench, Fox called attention to the treatment of minorities in the legal system, particularly related to drug sentencing. He retired in 2011 after a distinguished judicial career.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection traces a series of legal cases arising out of the June 19, 1971 arrest for trespassing of Seattle-King County Legal Services attorney Michael Fox and union organizer Guadalupe Gamboa of the UFW Co-op in Toppenish. Fox and Gamboa visited the Rogers Walla Walla Inc. migrant labor camp following Gamboa’s contact with workers there who had grievances regarding their working and living conditions. When they attempted to meet with workers, Rogers employees refused them entry without their naming the individuals they were meeting with and the purpose of their meeting. Fox and Gamboa refused to provide names, reasoning that employees named would be in potential danger of losing their jobs or worse. Rogers representatives called the sheriff who arrested Fox and Gamboa for trespassing and fined them $25 each. Fox and Gamboa appealed their conviction to the Superior Court of the County of Walla Walla, which affirmed the conviction in December 1971. Fox and Gamboa then appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court, which reversed the finding of the Superior Court in May 1973. This established an important precedent for future organizers and attorneys in the state. The State of Washington sought a hearing in the United State Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case. In Fox v. Klundt [Walla Walla County Sheriff] et al , Fox brought a civil suit against representatives of Rogers Walla Walla for damages and received a settlement of $6,000. Records include legal materials and newspaper articles relating to the court cases. Other records relate to the State of Washington State v. Michael Fox, 1973.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Creator's copyrights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


COURT CASES1971-1974,1994Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/1-1/15, Item SERIES I

Container(s) Description Dates
Events of June 1971
Walla Walla County Court
Washington State Superior Court, Walla Walla County
Washington State Superior Court, Walla Walla County
Preparation for State of Washington v. Fox
Washington State Supreme Court, State of Washington v. Fox Appeal--Part 1 of 6
Washington State Supreme Court, State of Washington v. Fox Appeal--Part 2 of 6
Washington State Supreme Court, State of Washington v. Fox Appeal--Part 3 of 6
Washington State Supreme Court, State of Washington v. Fox Appeal--Part 4 of 6
Washington State Supreme Court, State of Washington v. Fox Appeal--Part 5 of 6
Washington State Supreme Court, State of Washington v. Fox Appeal--Part 6 of 6
U.S. District Court, Fox v. Klundt--Part 1 of 2
U.S. District Court, Fox v. Klundt--Part 2 of 2
U.S. Supreme Court--State of Washington v. Fox
Additional Materials Related to Court Cases