Fa’amomoi Masaniai to become first court judge of Samoan heritage in Washington state

Judge Fa’amamoi Masaniai

Originally posted in a District Court News Release of Jan. 27, 2021

After serving as a pro tem judge in numerous municipal courts in King and Pierce counties, Judge Fa’amomoi (“Moi”) Masaniai will join the King County District Court bench in February. The King County Council appointed Judge Masaniai at its January 26, 2021, meeting to fill a judicial vacancy in the court’s Southwest District. Active in the Puget Sound Region’s Pacific Islander Community, Judge Masaniai is believed to be the first judge of Samoan heritage to serve on the bench of a court in Washington state.

Judge Masaniai’s legal experience includes work in both criminal defense and prosecution. He has argued cases in numerous legal venues, including district and municipal courts in Washington state; the United States District Courts for Western and Eastern Washington; the United States Bankruptcy Court; and courts in American Samoa. Judge Masaniai also is a former federal appointed independent prosecutor whom the High Court in American Samoa assigned to prosecute human trafficking, fraudulent immigration matters and public corruption in American Samoa.

“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve the people of King County as a district court judge,” says Judge Masaniai. “In the Samoan community, love, respect and honor are important values, which I am committed to bring to all people who come into my courtroom.”

“King County District Court is very pleased by the appointment of Judge Masaniai by the King County Council.  His extensive legal experience in both prosecution and defense, along with his deep community bonds, will bring another welcome and valuable diverse perspective to the court.”

About King County District Court

King County District Court is the largest court of limited jurisdiction in Washington state, processing approximately 200,000 matters per year. The district court operates at 10 locations throughout King County:  Auburn, Bellevue, Burien, Issaquah, King County Courthouse (Seattle), King County Jail (Seattle jail calendars only), Redmond, Maleng Regional Justice Center (Kent), Shoreline and Vashon Island (one day per month). www.kingcounty.gov/courts/district-court.aspx