Another barrier on the bench has been broken in the state of Washington. Earlier this month, Ketu Shah, an immigration attorney in private practice, was been named as a King County District judge - becoming the state's first-ever jurist of East Indian descent.
Shah, who has been a Judge Pro Tem in the county since 2007, was picked after a lengthy interview process conducted by the Metropolitan King County Council. He has also previously served as a Domestic Violence prosecutor for the city of Bellevue, as well as an assistant city attorney in both Seattle and Vancouver. He received his undergraduate degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla and his law degree from the University of Minnesota.
Shah ran for a spot on the King County District Court in the Northeast Division back in August of 2010, but lost that election to Donna Tucker. However, when Judge Frank LaSalata passed away in September, it was the council's job to choose a successor. After interviewing the candidates and inspecting the rankings compiled by the King County Bar Association; they selected Shah, whom Council Vice Chair Julia Patterson says has "the experience, demeanor and perspective to fill this position."
Shah now joins Tucker, Janet Garrow, Linda Jacke, Peter Nault, David Steiner, and Michael Finkle on the Northeast Division bench. This district court covers Redmond, Bellevuw, Sammamish, Woodinville, Issaquah, and parts of unincorporated King County. The judges are among the first to hear various cases, complaints, and disputes that are lodged in their area.