Elections 2022 Sep 1, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Judicial Candidate Aims to Stop the Court’s “Pattern of Abuse”

(L-R) Pooja Vaddadi and Judge Adam Eisenberg. Can a public defender take down Seattle Municipal Court's presiding judge? Anthony Keo

Comments

1

No

2

One possible interpretation for Vaddadi could be vad meaning litigation and dadi as paternal grandmother. Kind of a fitting name for a lawyer, even though there is a presumption or two there on my part.

3

Thank you for pointing out the completely broken legal system that works for the wealthy but not for everyone else.

The greed of international and even local corporate landlords have forced people into homelessness and desperation. The greed of corporate employers has caused low wages and meant that people can barely survive.

This present mayoral administration in Seattle blames the poor for being poor and uses or tries to use the police to constantly harass the poorest people. We need major positive change in this country and in this so called liberal city.

Social housing such as is practiced in Vienna, Austria is one fine example of the elimination of poverty and makes that magnificent city probably the world's most livable city.

In the 1970s emergency housing was practiced and it was successful in helping people to regain stability. The last fifty years or so of corporate greed has ended that safety net as well as so much more that caused healthier lives.

There are the wealthiest people in the world in this area that should contribute but do not. This is a tremendous disgrace and must be rectified.

4

@3 King County Housing Authority initiates more eviction proceedings than any private landlord in this region. https://www.kcba.org/For-the-Public/Free-Legal-Assistance/Housing-Justice-Project/Explore-Data/2019-A-Year-of-Evictions#:~:text=In%202019%2C%20there%20were%204%2C471,%2C%20and%20Auburn%20(7.7%25).

5

@3 that's all great but none of that is within the jurisdiction of the judicial system. If she wants to fix that then run for the legislature and have at it. This notion that criminals are victims of the system and the people they victimize are somehow oppressors is complete lunacy. We have dipped our toe in that water and the results have been horrendous both for the people desperately in need of mental health services and the rest of us who have to put up with their bullshit.

6

@3 People should pay a lot of attention to what you hint it; that judges need to be judges, and do their best to not be driven by ideology, but rather by the laws in place. They play an important part in the checks and balances of the criminal justice system. But a judge who is trying to filter all or much of what they do through their version of a social justice lens is dangerous.

We have prosecutors, defense attorneys and a judge or jury to apply the law to the evidence. And if at the end of the day we have to choose between an imperfect punishment that does not deter in the future, vs. seeing the criminal thumb their nose at a revolving door of failed restorative justice, the public is better served by the bars of a jail or prison. Let's be a bit more victim focused and less on the criminal. That would be refreshing.

7

“Vaddadi told me in an interview that she made her decision to run this year after witnessing one judge in Seattle Municipal Court keep a colleague’s client in jail even though the prosecutor hadn’t asked for continued detention.”

So, she believes judges should not make decisions independent of what prosecutors want?

“Vaddadi also sees an opportunity to reduce the trauma the criminal legal system inflicts on people by administering her court with more independence from city prosecutors than she’s seen her opponent demonstrate.”

So, her opponent NOT showing independence from prosecutors is the reason she’s running against him, but watching a judge show independence from a prosecutor is the reason she decided to run at all?!?

If elected, which Vaddadi would show up?

8

@7 that seems ironic only if one considers the actual outcome for the subject as a matter of complete indifference.

9

@8: We do not know the actual reason(s) the judge remanded the defendant to custody. It could have been a concern for the defendant’s own health and safety. (As usual for the Stranger’s writing on this issue, readers are not provided with enough background information to reach an independent conclusion.)

Is ‘the subject’ here confined to the defendant, or should the judge also consider whether the defendant poses a threat to anyone else? As other commenters here have already noted, Vaddadi does not seem to express any concern for anyone else who may be impacted by the courts’ decisions.

Finally, I didn’t consider her positions to be ironic, but hypocritical and confusing. Does she really imagine an entire career on the bench in which she never disagrees with a prosecutor?

10

Here is a boots on the ground take of what we are dealing with in our system and the ideology and practice of restorative justice: https://changewashington.org/king-countys-shadow-juvenile-crime-system-needs-reform/

11

We’ve been down this road before.

In the late ‘60s and early’70s it was common to say crime was caused by poverty, by racism, by a troubled childhood. Crime wasn’t caused by criminals it was caused by all these other issues.

So it became common to excuse crime and to give criminals repeated chances to redeem themselves.

The result was two decades of astronomical crime rates in every major city. Crime that disproportionately affected African-American communities.

In the 1990s attitudes changed. Three-strike laws, broken windows policing, stop and frisk, and the 1994 crime bill all led to a drastic reduction in crime and all went into effect with strong support from the African-American community, which was the primary target for the criminals.

Vaddadi “belief that no one is beyond help” is absolutely wrong there are many unredeemable people in the world and we need feel no remorse for locking them away from the rest of us.

12

The damages to the individual and eventually the entire community by poverty and injustice are minimized by most of the commenters above. So is the damage inflicted by underfunded and poorly supervised incarceration of any kind. The law and order emphasizers express a lot of bias against the impoverished people in this society. Poor nutrition even before pregnancy has been show to damage the brains of infants in the womb. Malnutrition after being born does even more. One of the effects of that alone is poor impulse control. Street crime is most often about poor impulse control, not calculated crime. Restorative justice that doesn't go far enough, because it isn't properly funded and maintained, over time is fated to fail by the punishment minded individuals. Punishment is failure inflicted by a system that is totally and undeniably against the working and disabled poor. White collar crime actually does more damage to more people, but it is expensive to investigate and to prosecute. So the least damaging, but more damaged, people get punished the most. Restorative justice and education are both underfunded and underutilized.

13

Restorative Justice makes a nice sound bite. But, in a lot of cases how can you restore something that was never there in the first place?

14

@12: I doubt anyone here would argue any of your points about poverty, malnutrition, and purely punitive incarceration, but the topic here is the local courts in Seattle. Putting offenders behind bars may or may not help the offenders, but it does help the larger community to avoid further victimization. Poor persons in Seattle should have the right to live free of criminal predation, so removing offenders from poor communities is itself an equity issue.

Of course we should pursue diversionary programs and restorative justice, and as you may know from the companion article on Vaddadi’s opponent, Seattle is pursuing those now. Those programs in no way relieve government of the responsibility to keep citizens safe from criminal predators, by locking offenders away from the general citizenry if necessary.

Finally, although again beyond the scope of local courts in Seattle, I would strenuously argue against your claim that white-collar crimes hurt more than do assaults, even misdemeanor assaults. Feeling unsafe in one’s own community or home is not something anyone should experience.

15

@12. You lost me on your spurious claims of malnutrition contributing to crime in America. Perhaps malnourished spirits, but not bodies. Few in America suffer from lack of food and needed nutrients. The problem is the opposite - an abundance of food and calories. Those in need have access to ample food resources via the USDA SNAP (food stamps) pantries and the like. Excusing crime based upon personal circumstances is wrongheaded and insults the capacity of people to make rational decisions, even wrong ones.

16

Wow @ParkPlace, you think hunger is rare around here? Take a look at this below (lots more, easy to find). The same source defines food insecurity as "when a household does not have access to nutritious food that meets their dietary preferences or needs."

Insights from the Seattle & King County Public Health data below:

Black and Hispanic/Latinx households are twice as likely to experience food insecurity (26.6-32.4% between 2018-2020) than white households.
Southeast Seattle households have high rates of food insecurity (the average rate between 2018-2020 was 26.5%).

17

@ParkPlace, I guess I'm bit wound up now. See, King County Public Health has this to say about food insecurity: Food insecurity also impacts a person's mental health. Adults who are hungry have a hard time focusing at work, which can deepen the poverty that caused their hunger. Hungry children often struggle in school and don't develop properly, which can lead to a lifetime of poor outcomes.

But maybe these hungry people should just force their hungry selves to make better personal decisions. Pull yourself up, kiddo!


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