Wednesday, May 18, 2022

From TV to the US attorney: Nick Brown plans a “different perspective” on justice in Seattle

The Australian outback is unforgiving, but no more than the world of guerrilla politics. Newly appointed US Attorney Nick Brown, former Survivor, Harvard Law School graduate and US Army attorney, has done well in both directions.

Brown, 44, is one of the youngest top federal prosecutors ever to reside in Western Washington and the first black to hold the position, adding to a long list of firsts and accomplishments that spanned nearly 30 pages in his submission to the US Senate. … when he was appointed by President Joe Biden.

His plan is now to take that initiative and channel it into the federal justice system in the Western District of Washington, located in Seattle, where he believes racial and social inequality is fueled by a kind of inertia as law enforcement and line attorneys do so. what they do, because it has been done in the past.

The result was massive incarceration, a failed war on drugs, and a lack of trust in the community. Brown would like to change direction.

As an advisor to Governor Jay Inslee Brown in 2014, he played a key role in the governor’s decision to impose a moratorium on the death penalty in Washington, and he is poised to similarly change the approach to criminal justice and civil rights at the federal level. within the law and guidelines of the Department of Justice.

“Our criminal justice system has huge problems,” Brown said in a recent interview from his corner office at the US District Courthouse in downtown Seattle. He notes that America imprisons more people than other developed countries, with different consequences for those of color and the poor.

“We punish people much more and longer than in other countries,” he said. “We should be angry about this and have a fair amount of shame. There are other countries that are doing better. ”

Overall, he notes, crime has declined since the 1980s and 90s, with the exception of violent crime and murder, which he blames on America’s unique weapon culture.

“But we cannot avoid violent crimes in prison,” he said.

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His solution is to shake things up in his office by persuading prosecutors to reconsider the meaning of the word “justice” and “give my people the opportunity to push law enforcement to a new perspective on crime.”

“We get into a routine when we do things one way because we have always done that,” he said. “I want to change that. Most of all, I hope that I will make some minor changes. “

As the first black American prosecutor in Western Washington, Brown is well aware that he is both a role model for young people of color and his responsibility to address long-standing institutional racism, as well as the role that the legal system has played in marginalization and persecution. these communities.

“This role is very important to me,” he said. “I hope to inspire young people to get involved. However, representation does not matter if nothing changes. We need to offer a different point of view. “

He notes that this fight is not new, but rather heard recently.

“These voices have long been ignored or discouraged, but this turmoil and problems have existed since the founding of this country,” he said. Now the difference is that “we see a critical mass of incidents captured on camera. We used to have to go to the police. “

So far, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has appointed the only attorney in the Civil Rights Division, whose job was to oversee the decade-long efforts to reform the Seattle Police Department through federal consent decree. A Ministry of Justice investigation concluded that SPD officers used excessive force in about 1 in 5 arrests and provided disappointing evidence of biased police behavior.

A decade later, the department’s numbers of people of color are still worrisome, and the SPD remains under federal surveillance.

Brown plans to increase the number of attorneys tasked with investigating and prosecuting civil rights cases, with the aim of establishing a civil rights unit with multiple attorneys in the Seattle office.

“If I don’t do anything differently, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

He expects a rebuff. “When you ask people to do things differently, they become uncomfortable,” he said.

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Brown was born in San Francisco, but moved to Steilacum at a young age when his father, a professional military man, served in what was then called Fort Lewis. He attended a local high school and graduated cum laude from Morehouse College Atlanta in 1999. He attended Harvard Law School and received his Juris Doctor degree in 2002.

While at law school, as an adventure, he became a participant – and a heartthrob for millions – in the second season of The Survivor, filmed in the Australian outback, one of the top-rated reality TV seasons. Brown noted that 50,000 people applied for the show that season.

“I was in law school at the time and was looking for a fun escape before entering the ‘real world,’” Brown wrote in an email. “Overall it was a great experience, but that was 21 years ago.”

While attending college and law school, he said, Brown modeled “a part-time job, but nothing special,” working at local exhibitions and in advertisements for designers and clothing stores.

Brown enlisted in the military, graduating from law school, and worked as an attorney, first as a lawyer and tax inspector at Fort Bliss, Texas, and then as a defense attorney for the Army Attorney General at Fort Bliss, Lewis McCord Joint Base and in Iraq, where he defended soldiers accused of crimes and violations of military law. He was promoted to captain and was awarded a Bronze Star in 2005.

In 2007, he joined the United States Attorney’s Office in Seattle, where he served for six years as an Assistant United States Attorney, handling criminal cases primarily related to firearms and drug crimes. After leaving office, Brown moved to Inslee’s office, where he served as general counsel to the governor.

“Much to my delight, Nick joined the administration in my first year as governor,” Inslee wrote in an email. “He was a rare man with such wisdom for such a young man.”

Brown volunteered for Inslee’s failed 2020 presidential campaign. He was Hillary Clinton’s Washington delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Nation World News Desk
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