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Hon. Faye R. Chess Elected Seattle Municipal Court Presiding Judge Effective January 1, 2023, Hon. Andrea Chin to Serve as Assistant Presiding Judge

On Friday, December 2nd, a majority of the Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) judges elected Honorable Faye R. Chess to serve as Presiding Judge and Honorable Andrea Chin to serve as Assistant Presiding Judge for a two-year term, effective January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2024. Honorable Willie Gregory remains the third member of the Executive Committee. Current Presiding Judge Adam Eisenberg was not reelected in November during the General Election and will leave the court at the end of December.

The Presiding Judge leads the management and administration of the court, makes judicial assignments, and supervises the court’s five non-elected Magistrates and the Court Administrator. When the Presiding Judge is unavailable, the Assistant Presiding Judge fulfills the duties of Presiding Judge. 

In accordance with SMC Local Court Rule 10.2 and to ensure the seamless transition of duties and the continuity of court operations, a majority of SMC’s elected judges held the Presiding Judge election during an executive session of their regularly scheduled Judges’ Meeting on December 2, 2022. Judges’ meetings are scheduled monthly with a set agenda distributed prior to the meeting noting action items (items requiring a vote) and whether an executive session will be held. All sitting judges are expected to attend and have voting privileges. Judge Damon Shadid did not attend the December 2nd Judges’ meeting and he did not offer his proxy to another judge. The six judges in attendance unanimously voted to elect Judge Chess and Judge Chin as the next Presiding and Assistant Presiding judges.

“I am honored to be selected to lead the court at this time and I will partner with my colleagues, court leaders and staff, our stakeholders and community to ensure SMC achieves our mission” said incoming Presiding Judge Chess. “I want to personally thank Judge Eisenberg for his leadership and many years of service to the court and the Seattle community. He has left a lasting impact including implementing the collaborative Domestic Violence Intervention Project and championing Seattle Youth Traffic Court.”

Judge Faye R. Chess has been serving as Assistant Presiding Judge since July 2022. She was appointed to the Seattle Municipal Court bench in April 2018 after serving as Magistrate and was first elected to the position in November 2018. Judge Chess served as a Judge Pro Tempore in King County District Court for over 22 years. She was previously the Director of Labor Relations for Group Health Cooperative and Sr. HR Consultant for Providence Health Services and Swedish Medical Center. For many years, she worked in the public education sector, first as Deputy General Counsel and Interim Executive Director of Human Resources for Seattle Public Schools specializing in employment and labor, special education, and student disability plans and later as the Executive Director of Human Resources and General Counsel for Tukwila School District. She began her career as a public defender in Seattle.

Judge Andrea Chin serves as the full-time domestic violence judge and the judicial liaison with Probation. She was first elected in November 2018 and is a graduate of Occidental College and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California. Judge Chin previously served as an Assistant Seattle City Attorney where she prosecuted criminal cases, argued appeals at all levels of state appellate courts, and served as the supervisor of the Specialty Court Unit providing oversight of the city’s participation in Mental Health Court and Veterans Treatment Court. Judge Chin is a long-time member of the Asian Bar Association of Washington (ABAW), served on the Joint Asian Judicial Evaluation Committee from 2011-2014, as an ABAW Board Member from 2013 – 2016, and as ABAW President in 2017. She brings 30 years of public service to the court.