King County judge refuses to press charges against his attacker
June 1, 2022
A judge’s duty is to uphold and execute the law. When they don’t, they need to be held accountable and had it made clear they’re not doing their jobs.
That’s the case with King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott, who was slapped by a man in Seattle last month near the downtown county courthouse.
It’s not a surprise that the assailant turned out to be not only mentally ill, but a serial offender who had already attacked other people that morning.
What is shocking is that the judge didn’t even report it to police afterwards. A security guard who happened to witness the attack contacted the police, and Scott was not cooperative with investigators until the King County Executive’s Office got involved. Based on his behavior, one might be confused as to whether he was an accomplice, not the victim.
Make Your Voice Heard!
Contact The Seattle Times and demand they cover this incident and ask Scott why he didn’t want to report the attack.
Let’s put aside whether Scott should have, to borrow the expression, “turned the other cheek.” It had to have been absolutely clear to him his attacker was unstable and prone to assault others. Charges or no charges, the public has the right to be safe from serial offenders, and police should have been notified of what had happened.
Judge Scott not only failed to act in his own interests, he didn’t even think to look out for the protection of the public whom he’s supposed to protect.
Which is why his response highlights the problem.
A lack of safety and increased physical attacks seem to have become normalized.
The courthouse has had ongoing safety concerns for years. Drug deals have occurred at the adjoining park. Courthouse staff have quit due to concerns over the homeless population living on the nearby sidewalks. Rather than clean up the area, nothing was done. Then-King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht directed office staff to do remote work to avoid the courthouse, rather than restore a safe environment.
Things finally came to a head last year when a woman was sexually assaulted in a courthouse bathroom.
According to a KOMO 4 story on the incident:
The brazen and horrifying attack left courthouse workers stunned but not surprised.
“It’s like wow, you know, wow,” said one woman who did not feel comfortable being identified. “We talk about it a lot, people are very uncomfortable.”
“It’s not just getting here with the outside streets, it’s also the safety of being inside the courthouse,” she added.
Prominent court officials are now wondering: Is it going to take more violence for public safety at the courthouse to be taken seriously? How far are things going to get out of hand?
Allowing sexual assaults, drug deals, and attacks on judges in and near the courthouse reflects an apathetic attitude about real criminal justice. It should be the last place criminals feel comfortable operating at.
But that courthouse is also where too many King County judges are letting serial offenders off the hook. Whether for ideological reasons or a perceived lack of moral authority, they aren’t holding criminals accountable. Violent suspects are frequently released and allowed to commit even more violent crime.
There are a lot of areas around public safety in need of reform. One place to start is judges not tolerating crime in or near the courthouse, and certainly not against them. If a person displeased with one of Scott’s rulings or decisions slapped him in a similar manner, would he tolerate it?
Bobby Kennedy once said the following:
“Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”
If we’re going to once again have proper and adequate public safety in Seattle, we must insist on it.
Our insistence is getting results. Last week the full Seattle City Council voted to approve Councilmember Sara Nelson’s resolution to use existing funds to hire more officers. We need to keep the pressure on.
Contact The Seattle Times and demand they cover this incident and ask Judge Scott why he didn’t want to report the attack.