King County Superior Court, Seattle
In Judge O'Donnell's talk, he plans to address the following topics.
1. The judiciary’s make-up in Washington – how judges get to be judges – what elections look like.
2. A bit about working on the Green River Killer case - I admit, I do have stories…
3. The state of the judiciary now, post COVID and how we’re trying to stay connected/relevant to the population we serve.
4. Crime/drugs – what in the world is going on?
Thanks to Dr. Doug Cameron for scheduling this speaker.
Sean P. O’Donnell is a Superior Court Judge for King County, Washington. Judge O’Donnell is the former President of the Superior Court Judges’ Association, a statewide organization representing 192 trial court judicial officers across Washington. His current assignment is chief judge for King County’s Unified Family Court.
Judge O’Donnell served as a senior deputy prosecutor for 12 years and handled the state’s first human trafficking case and first commercial sexual abuse of a minor case. While a prosecutor, Judge O’Donnell was a member of the Green River Task Force, which oversaw the investigation and prosecution of serial murderer Gary L. Ridgway (the ‘Green River Killer’). He has trained lawyers and police nationally and internationally on how to prosecute human trafficking cases. Since joining the bench in 2013, Judge O’Donnell has been on the court’s family law, civil and criminal dockets, including two years as the Court’s Chief Criminal Judge. He has presided over numerous ‘all remote’ jury trials and helped lead efforts to implement the Court’s virtual jury selection and virtual trial procedures and training during the pandemic.
Judge O’Donnell helped draft rules currently pending before Washington’s Supreme Court that would authorize trial courts to continue remote trials and jury selection after pandemic emergency orders expire. In 2022, he helped establish King County’s Protection Order Court pilot project, which is in its first year of operation. He is keenly interested in A.I. and the possibilities and challenges it presents to the legal profession. He has led three statewide branch task forces in Washington: to improve courthouse security, to reform Washington’s pre-trial release practices, and to increase state funding for court interpreters. He is also the legislative co-chair for the Superior Court Judges’ Association.
Judge O’Donnell is the 2004 co-recipient of the “Outstanding Lawyer of the Year” from the King County Bar Association and the 2018 recipient of “Judge of the Year” from the American Board of Trial Advocates (Puget Sound Chapter). He is a Trustee for the Lakeside School in Seattle and is a member of the Rainier Scholars Resource Council. He is former chair of the Schools Commission for St. Joseph School.
Judge O’Donnell graduated from Georgetown University and Seattle University School of Law. He lives with his wife and their two teen-aged children in Seattle.