July 13, 2022
Contact: Georgi Schultz

Nyjat Rose-Akins Launches Campaign for Municipal Court Position 7

Experienced in both civil and criminal law as an Assistant City Attorney and judge pro tem, Rose-Akins will seek to restore appropriate balance and case-by-case evaluation and consideration to the municipal court system, as she challenges an incumbent who has supported indiscriminate use of a “release first” approach to crimes committed by lower level offenders 

SEATTLE – With 12 years experience as a Seattle Assistant City Attorney, working on both the civil and criminal sides of the office, and more than two years as a judge pro tem in King County, Nyjat-Rose-Akins today launched her campaign for Seattle Municipal Court, Position 7. 

Nyjat is challenging incumbent Judge Damon Shadid, one of the main architects of a controversial 2019 agreement in which the City Attorney’s Office (CAO) was required to send all offenders (regardless of criminal history or potential danger to the community) committing 22 categories of misdemeanor crimes, including theft, trespass and property destruction, to a therapeutic “release-first” Community Court overseen by the incumbent. In total, those crimes constituted more than half the criminal violations handled by the CAO.

Nyjat’s perspective on the criminal legal system is informed by her background as a Jamaican immigrant, graduate of Howard University, business professional and experienced attorney. Currently working on the civil side of the CAO, where she provides legal advice on police accountability, encampment clean up issues and neighborhood concerns, she has previously handled hundreds of criminal cases and tried over 60 jury trials in Seattle Municipal Court. Nyjat has worked closely with participants in Community Court and Mental Health Court, and in so doing has developed a granular understanding of what is working well and what is not in our municipal system of criminal justice. 

“I believe that the role of a judge in our Municipal Court system is to treat every defendant with dignity and humanity, and I strongly support the robust use of non-coercive alternatives to incarceration where it is appropriate,” Rose-Akins says. “But judges need to strike the right balance, assessing each case and each defendant individually, rather than making blanket determinations that every offender in most categories of misdemeanor crimes, regardless of their criminal history, should in every instance be diverted to a release-first system, even when multiple previous interventions with those offenders have failed. Our judges need to understand that criminal behaviors can cause serious harm, both to individual victims and to the social fabric. I’ve seen first-hand that our judicial system has gotten off track and has not been producing the desired results in some cases, and if elected I will strive to treat every person appearing in my courtroom according to basic principles of personal dignity and accountability.”

“It is the duty of every judge to make sure that the criminal justice system is functioning effectively, providing non-coercive help to those who are likely to benefit from therapeutic interventions, while also protecting public safety and making sure that victims of criminal activity are not treated as an afterthought. If elected, I will take that responsibility with the utmost seriousness.”

More information about Nyjat and her campaign are available at her campaign website