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County Council appoints Ketu Shah to fill vacancy in King County District Court

July 22, 2013

The Metropolitan King County Council today appointed Ketu Shah to fill the vacancy in the Northeast Division of King County District Court. Judge Shah will take the position created by the passing of Judge Frank V. LaSalata last September. Mr. Shah will be the first judge of East Indian descent in the state of Washington.

“I thank the Councilmembers for this honor and the opportunity to serve the citizens of King County,” said Judge Shah after his appointment. “I will strive to be a fair and compassionate judge.”
A graduate of Whitman College in Walla Walla and the University of Minnesota Law School, Ketu Shah has been practicing law in Washington since 1995. A Judge Pro Tem in King County since 2007, Shah has been practicing both criminal and civil law for close to two decades. He has been in private practice since 2000, with a focus on immigration law, assisting businesses and families in obtaining visas, permanent residency, and naturalization. Before going into private practice, Mr. Shah clerked for Judge Carol Schapira of King County Superior Court, then he prosecuted Domestic Violence Crimes for over 10 years for the Cities of Bellevue, Seattle, and Vancouver. He became an expert in the dynamics of domestic violence and its intersection with the legal system. He presented statewide to prosecutors, law enforcement, and advocates. Mr. Shah was also on the Board and the Board Chair for 7 years for Chaya, an organization that assisted South Asian survivors of domestic violence, was a board member of SABAWA for several years including the Scholarship Committee, and on the Board for the local youth soccer club.

“We were fortunate to have three extremely well qualified people to choose from. Ketu Shah is the perfect person to fill the vacancy on the District Court,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “Shah’s experience and philosophy shows he has the compassion necessary to be an effective District Court Judge.”

“Mr. Shah has the experience, demeanor and perspective to fill this position. He is passionate about housing, poverty, and education — issues extremely relevant to King County,” said Council Vice Chair Julia Patterson.

“We had an exceptionally ‘well qualified’ pool of candidates—my sincere thanks to those who sought to serve, and congratulations and good luck to Judge Shah, our new appointee!” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague.

The Council’s appointment of Shah was the result of a selection process that included a rating of interested applicants by the King County Bar Association (KCBA). In addition, all candidates had to complete the evaluation process of at least one bar association that performs judicial evaluations consistent with the provisions of Chapter 2.70 of the King County Code.

“Ketu Shah is exceptionally well qualified to join the Northeast District Court as our appointee to the bench,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “He emerged as the best candidate from an extraordinarily strong field, and will be outstanding in administering justice for the people of King County.”

“We had wonderful candidates to select from and we selected Ketu Shah. His experience with a wide variety of roles in the judicial system will serve the public well,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “I am also pleased by his commitment to making technological advances to the court process in order to make it an understandable and fair process.”

“The King County District Court plays an integral role in our criminal justice process,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “Ketu Shah is a well-qualified individual that will serve the County and our Court system well.”

“Ketu Shah will serve King County residents well,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott. “I am confident he will use this position on the bench as an opportunity to help those who appear before him get their lives back on track while also working to keep our communities safe.”

“I congratulate Ketu Shah on his appointment to the King County District Court,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski “Shah’s long record of experience, and successful track record in law will serve the residents of King County well.”

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