Fair and Just Prosecution Fellow Joseph Ludmir shares his summer experience at the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
This summer, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office welcomed Joseph Ludmir, a rising second year law student from Los Angeles, as a resident Fellow with the national Fair and Just Prosecution Program. The program places outstanding law students in the “most inspiring elected prosecutors’ offices around the country,” an honor Seattle shares with Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Boston.
Summer fellows are defined by their interest criminal justice reform and their ability to bridge the gap between the classroom theories and on-the-ground work.
Working primarily with Deputy Chief of Staff Carla Lee and Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ben Santos, Joseph said the experience has been transformational.
“These are programs and approaches that don’t exist in a lot of places right now,” said Ludmir. What he learns here, he takes back to the University of Chicago Law School.
He says he learned that everyone has a different idea of justice and how to make it work. It varies across city lines, state lines, and communities, and the younger generation believes in a more restorative approach. “We post things, we share things. But it’s much easier to talk about a world where everything is equitable and people get justice served both through the court systems and through rehabilitation post-conviction. I’m here to see how to make that happen.”
Joseph has been reviewing convictions, gathering data and looking for patterns. Joseph’s top takeaways:
- Prosecutors have a difficult job. They have to uphold justice because they represent people and the state, but they also defend life and freedom. Balancing those interests is difficult and hard to explain.
- Trials are nothing like they are on TV. Rarely is there a star witnesses or breakout moment. Testimony and evidence can be murky and confusing.
- Good attorneys tell compelling stories that juries can follow easily.
Ultimately, he’s grateful to Carla and Ben for giving him meaningful work digging deep into convictions and other cases and having long discussions about the future of justice and the role his generation will play.
King County PAO has participated in the Fellowship two years in a row. Dan Satterberg is a member of the six member FJP Advisory Board. Based on our positive experience with Joseph and others, the PAO will to continue to participate in the program.
Pictured: Left to right, Zoe Fielder and Marissa Madrazo, Legal Assistant ll’s, Deputy Chief of Staff Carla Lee, Chief of Staff Leesa Manion, Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, and Fellow Joseph Ludmir.