Prosecuting violent crimes and sexual assaults, providing culturally responsive victim services, and intervening in the lives of young people, especially those most at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of gun violence, are among the priorities incoming King County Prosecutor Leesa Manion touched on before taking her oath of office Monday.
She called her swearing-in ceremony before a packed courtroom in the King County Courthouse “a celebration,” saying that being the first woman and the first person of color to hold the office was the honor of her life.
Manion, 53, was recognized by the Korean Prosecutors Association, whose executive director, Jerry Baik, flew to Seattle from Los Angeles to attend the ceremony and present Manion with a plaque honoring her as the country’s first Korean American woman to be elected prosecuting attorney.
Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison introduced Manion and noted that they are the first women — and mothers — to hold their respective positions. She commended Manion for her work to expand victim services, promote data-driven strategies to prevent gun violence and work with a regional group that removes firearms from households experiencing domestic violence.
With a backlog of 4,000 charged felony cases, Manion said resolving cases that have stacked up during the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to innovate.
“We can and must envision a justice system where prosecutors, public defenders and our judges are willing to try new approaches to how we do our work,” Manion said. “I believe we can challenge ourselves to be creative and let go of past practices that are no longer working so we can deliver justice in a more timely manner and protect our employees from burnout and mental and emotional fatigue.”