Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
Washington Supreme Court’s Minority and Justice Commission Elects Judge Mary Yu as Co-ChairJanuary 31, 2011
King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu has been elected to serve as Co-Chair of the Washington Supreme Court’s Minority and Justice Commission. Yu was elected by her fellow members of the Commission, which was created by the Washington State Supreme Court in 1990 and renewed in 2010 to identify and to eradicate the effects of racial, ethnic, and cultural bias in our state court system. Judge Yu is the first trial judge to serve as Co-Chair of the Commission.
“I am delighted that the Commission has selected Judge Yu as our Co-Chair and I look forward to working with her on a major initiative of the judiciary—to eliminate bias in our courts,” said Associate Chief Justice Charles W. Johnson, Chair of the Commission.
He praised Yu’s leadership during her more than six years on the Commission and for her work on the Workforce Diversity and Education Committees.
In her nomination, Judge Yu was lauded by Commission members for her accomplishments in improvements to the administration of justice:
• Judge Yu led efforts in her court to translate mandatory family law forms and instructions into Spanish;
• In 2008, Judge Yu initiated, wrote, and oversaw the production of a video and handbook for self-represented litigants on how to navigate through court procedures. The video has been distributed nationally and is available on the King County Superior Court’s web site for free;
• Judge Yu led efforts in King County Superior Court to adopt a court-wide policy to prohibit the enforcement of civil immigration warrants so that cases could be heard on the merits. At the invitation of the Chief Justice of the Washington Supreme Court and the Gender and Justice Commission, she serves as Co-Chair (with Judge Ann Schindler) of a state-wide advisory committee charged with the education of judges on immigration issues;
• Judge Yu has been actively involved, as Board member and Co-Chair, in the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Leadership Institute, a training institute designed to recruit diverse leadership for the Bar and community; and
• Judge Yu is an active participant on the Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System. The Task Force has been invited by the Chief Justice to meet with the Supreme Court on March 2nd for a roundtable discussion on needed reforms related to racial disparity in the criminal justice system. The discussion is expected to include leaders from the WSBA, minority bar associations, prosecutors, public defenders, legal education and other stakeholders.
“These are just a few examples of how Judge Yu makes real, every day, the promise of justice for all,” said Commission member Ada Shen-Jaffe of Seattle University School of Law. “Judge Yu is an outstanding leader on the court statewide, advocating for access to justice issues.”
Yu was sworn in as a King County Superior Court Judge in 2000. Prior to her appointment, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff to King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng and Director of the Peace and Social Justice Office for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
During her tenure on the bench, she has received numerous awards, including the 2009 Norm Maleng Award from the Washington State Bar Association; the 2008 “Judge of the Year” award from the Asian Bar Association; the 2008 President’s Award from Washington Women Lawyers; the 2006 “Model of Excellence” Award from the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington; the 2005 “Judge of the Year” award from the American Board of Trial Advocates, Washington Chapter (ABOTA); and the 2005 Reah Whitehead Public Leadership Award from Seattle University School of Law. Judge Yu will be receiving the Grace Hopper Award from the Seattle Girls School on March 1, 2011, an annual award celebrating Northwest women in leadership.
Judge Yu earned a B.A. degree in Theology from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, a M.A. degree in Religious Studies from Mundelein of Loyola University in Chicago and her J.D. degree from the University of Notre Dame.
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