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Delta-Born Edirin Okoloko Appointed A Judge In The US
Published Aug 09, 2020 IN Features, Personality,
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 Once again the image of Nigeria got a boost, as a Nigerian from Delta Central (Urhobo extraction), Ediri­nOkoloko, was penultimate week sworn in as a judge of the Snohomish County Superior Court in Washington State, U.S.A. He replaces Judge George Bowden who has just retired. His elevation has no doubt brought honour not only to his Urhobo stock but Nigeria and the entire black race.


Okoloko bagged his Bachelor of Law de­gree from the University of Benin. He also received a law degree from the Seattle Uni­versity School of Law, and has worked for the past 13 years in the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, where he is a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney working on homicide, sexual assault, child abuse, and elder abuse cases.


Before working as a prosecutor, Okoloko served as a judicial law clerk for former Snohomish County Superior Court, Judge Michael Downes. He was appointed by Gov­ernor Jay Inslee to fill a vacant seat on the Snohomish County Superior Court bench.


Born in Benin City, the fourth of six children, his mother taught him and his siblings about love and empathy; she raised them to see the humanity in others. His fa­ther was a Professor of Molecular Biology, and Judge grew up watching his father in his lab and seeing the passion his father had for his work. Wanting to experience that kind of passion in his career, Judge thought that he would study medicine.


However, the military intervention in the democratic structure of government in Nigeria and the human rights abuses that followed, led him to the study and practice of law. In 1998, while in his final year of his law programme in Nigeria, Judge won and qualified for the Diversity Visa Lot­tery which allowed him to immigrate to the United States and eventually become a citizen.


Arriving in the Pacific Northwest, he earned a second law degree with honors from Seattle University. After graduating from law school, he was hired as a Judicial Law Clerk to Judge Michael Downes (Rtd) of the Snohomish County Superior Court and was later recruited by the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office and spent 13 years as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney prosecuting some of the most difficult charges of homicide, sexual assault, elder abuse, child abuse and other crimes against vulnerable members of the community.


Judge has always been known for treat­ing everyone with dignity and respect. In 2007 and 2008, as the recipient of the Clerk’s Choice Award, he was honored by the Snohomish County court clerks for personifying personal and professional civility and courtesy to staff, litigants, and the bench.


During his career in the Prosecutor’s Of­fice, he was also a member of the Snohom­ish County Multi-Agency Response Team (S.M.A.R.T) which investigates incidents involving use of force by law enforcement officers. He was also one of the on-call prosecutors responding to county wide homicides on behalf of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.


Governor Inslee selected him from a wide field of applicants to serve on the Superior Court bench as he is expected to bring his usual dignity, civility, and courtesy to his work as a judge.


Judge has lived in Edmonds for many years, and is married to a fifth generation Washingtonian. Both he and his wife, a clinical social worker, are committed to being of service to their community. Judge Okoloko coaches youth soccer and on oc­casion, teaches law to local high school students through the Street Law program. His wife has worked and volunteered with organizations addressing homelessness, substance use disorders, mental illness, and racial inequities. Information has it that he and his wife are happy to be raising their two young children in the beautiful Snohomish County community of Edmonds.

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