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Mayor Durkan Appoints Pro Tem Judge Catherine McDowall to the Seattle Municipal Court

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced her appointment of Catherine McDowall to the current vacant judicial position on the Seattle Municipal Court. Since 2013, Catherine McDowall has served as Judge Pro Tempore on the Seattle Municipal Court and King County District Court. The Judicial Evaluation Committee, which included representatives from several of the local Minority Bar Associations, City Attorney’s Office, and the Public Defender Association, recommended the appointment of Judge Pro Tem McDowall. This appointment is subject to confirmation by the City Council.

“Throughout her career, Judge Pro Tem McDowall has shown an immense understanding of the criminal legal system and the challenges and opportunities facing the court,” said Mayor Durkan. “She has a deep commitment to addressing the issues of systemic racism as demonstrated by her support for increasing diversion programs, addressing jury selection and bias, as well as the implementation of changes to probation. I know her significant courtroom experience, empathy and impartiality will be crucial as we continue our work to dismantle systemic racism and transform the criminal legal system.”

“I am honored that Mayor Durkan has appointed me to fill this vacancy on Seattle Municipal Court. I have an enormous amount of respect for the current judges on the court, and I look forward to working with them during this dynamic time of reform and change,” said Judge Pro Tem McDowall.

“On behalf of my fellow judges, I want to congratulate Judge Pro Tem Catherine McDowall on her appointment to Seattle Municipal Court. I look forward to working with her. She has served in our court for seven years and is an exceptional judge. She is very knowledgeable about the law and has demonstrated on a daily basis compassion and empathy to the people that appear before her. As we move forward in a new era of reform in the criminal legal system, Judge Pro Tem McDowall will be an excellent addition to the bench,” said Presiding Judge Willie Gregory.

As Judge Pro Tem, McDowall has presided over different calendars and specialty courts, including Mental Health Court, Community Court, and Veterans Treatment Court. Judge Pro Tem McDowall received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, then attended the University of Virginia School of Law for her Juris Doctorate. She began her career in private practice doing civil litigation in Washington, D.C. before moving to Seattle where she joined the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as a deputy prosecutor in 1998 and was later promoted to senior deputy prosecutor. She has 18 years of courtroom experience in Washington State alone, working on all types of criminal cases from misdemeanors to felonies, and at all levels from filing to appeals.