Therapeutic Courts

For 8 years, Judge Shadid has been the driving force at Seattle Municipal Court for re-inventing and revitalizing Therapeutic Courts. All of the therapeutic courts work on the same principles: people involved in the criminal legal system should be able to access services in the community that will help them exit the criminal legal system better than when they entered.

  • Community Court: Judge Shadid brought together the Municipal Court, the Department of Public Defense, and the City Attorney’s office behind a shared vision of connecting low level offenders to services in the community instead of a jail-based prosecution. The Community Court revolutionizes community courts in the state by allowing participants to access services immediately, without waiving any of their trial rights. This allows the Community Court to be more immediately responsive to individuals in our community suffering from homelessness, drug addiction and mental health issues.
  • The “Consolidated” Calendar: Judge Shadid created and presides over the “consolidated calendar” at Seattle Municipal Court. Many defendants in the criminal legal system are already actively engaged with case workers in the community. These case workers provide individuals with crucial support and services on the street. Judge Shadid believes that these case workers should be working in the community instead of coming to court every day to support their clients. He therefore consolidated all of these types of cases onto one calendar so that case workers only have to appear in court once per week to support their clients.
  • Mental Health Court: Judge Shadid has revitalized and re-structured the Seattle Municipal Mental Health Court, which he has presided over for the past 4 years. He has worked to connect people with housing and services instead of leaving them to sit in jail waiting for a court date. He successfully negotiated with the City a revision of their sentencing recommendations which makes the Community Court option more attractive to defendants. And a new Mental Health Court clinician develops safe release plans for defendants who are willing to engage in substance abuse and mental health treatment immediately.

Racism in the Criminal Legal System

Judge Shadid understands that the criminal legal system has a foundation in historical racism, and he works passionately to address the racial disparities. The facts are that if you are a person of color, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, held in jail on bail, and receive a harsher sentence than a non-BIPOC person. Judge Shadid has taken concrete steps toward addressing this disparity.

  • Criminal history should not be a bar to receiving needed services to break the cycle of repeated offenses, incarceration, and release. Judge Shadid structured Community Court so that any person charged with specific non-violent crimes may seek services through Community Court instead of a traditional jail-based prosecution.
  • Bail Reform: Judge Shadid understands that BIPOC people are charged with crimes and held in jail more often than others. He therefore structured Community Court to allow for a release plan that helps connect defendants directly and immediately to services instead of holding them in jail on bail pending trial.

Educating our Youth About Our Democracy

Judge Shadid regularly hosts children in his courtroom to talk about the criminal legal system and goes out to the schools to talk to kids about civics and our democracy.

Interpreter Services

Judge Shadid believes that all people should have access to justice, including individuals who do not speak English. Almost 30% of the residents of Seattle speak a non-English language as their primary language.  Judge Shadid has been the Interpreter Services Judge at the Seattle Municipal Court for the past 6 years and has accomplished a great deal:

  • Judge Shadid and the Interpreter Services team re-wrote the bench reference card for judges working with interpreters. This bench card was adopted statewide and is used by every judge in the state when an interpreter is present in their courtroom.
  • Judge Shadid and the Interpreter Services team re-wrote the rules of professional conduct for interpreters. The new rules were adopted statewide and are now required of every interpreter in the state when they appear in court.
  • Judge Shadid’s Interpreter Services team wrote a Handbook for Court Interpreters to help interpreters across the state.
  • Judge Shadid’s Interpreter Services team trains interpreters from across the state each year in a special course that deepens an interpreter’s understanding of how to successfully interpret in court and to do their jobs in a professional way.
  • Judge Shadid has become a well-regarded judicial authority on working with court interpreters in the state of Washington. He has trained lawyers in seminars across the state, including multiple appearances at the Judicial College for new judges, King County Judge Pro Tem trainings, and the District and Municipal Court Judges’ Association. He has also given seminars on Immigration in the Criminal Legal System.

There’s More Work To Do !

Judge Shadid has used his 8 years on the bench in a positive way to transform Seattle’s Municipal Court and, in turn, make Seattle a more healthy and safe place to live.

However, everyone who lives and works here knows that there is MUCH MORE WORK TO DO!

We need to re-elect Judge Shadid so that he can continue this important work.