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Seattle Municipal Court Hosts Judges and Journalists from The Republic of North Macedonia  

The Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) welcomed a delegation of judges and journalists from the Republic of North Macedonia on Thursday, April 18, 2024 as part of a study visit to Washington State focused on judicial transparency and media reporting. The visit was facilitated by the United States Department of State and coordinated by Hon. William L. Downing, (Ret.). During their week-long visit to Washington, the delegation met with representatives from local, state and federal courts in Seattle and King County, United States Attorney’s Office, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, local print and broadcast journalists, and the University of Washington Center for an Informed Public.

During their time at SMC, the visitors received a welcome in their native language from SMC employee, Latinka Miryanova, who is originally from Bulgaria, a region similar in culture and language to the visitors. The delegation toured SMC’s courthouse and observed SMC court proceedings in the courtrooms of Judge Damon Shadid and Magistrate Noah Weil.

The visit concluded with a robust discussion on the importance of open access to courts with Presiding Judge Faye R. Chess, Josh Sattler, Court Administrator, Gary Ireland, Deputy Court Administrator, Strategy, and Victoria Moreland, Director of Equity & Engagement. During the discussion, SMC highlighted virtual proceedings, electronic access to case files and information, public records request policies, media relations and recording of court proceedings, and community outreach and engagement as pillars of SMC’s commitment to ensuring the public’s trust and confidence through open access to the court.

The delegation from the Republic of North Macedonia included: Verica Spaseva, US State Department, Zlata Gjuroska Brajovikj, Interpreter, Virginia Elliot, US State Department, Hon. Holly Hill (Ret. Judge, King County Superior Court), Elena Ivanovska Mukoska, journalist, Hon. William Downing (Ret. Judge, King County Superior Court), Aleksandar Atanasov, journalist, Ardit Ramadani, journalist, and Hon. Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska, Supreme Court Judge.

The visit underscores SMC’s commitment to fostering international dialogue on judicial transparency and effectiveness.