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Judge Karama H. Hawkins


Judge Karama H. Hawkins

Judge Karama H. Hawkins was elected to the King County District Court bench in November 2022. Her prior judicial experience includes serving as a Judge Pro Tempore in a dozen district and municipal courts throughout Western Washington, including King County District Court since 2015. Judge Hawkins is assigned to the Shoreline Courthouse where she presides over a wide range of civil and criminal matters. Judge Hawkins presides over the Shoreline and Kenmore Community Court.

Judge Hawkins has extensive experience gained prior to joining the bench. She served as a Senior Associate with the Federal Way Public Defender’s Office from 2009-2013. In 2014 her law firm took over as the main public defender for Federal Way Municipal Court until August 2022. Judge Hawkins was honored with a Certificate of Recognition by the Washington Defender Association for her role in establishing the Federal Way Therapeutic Community Court. She served as a conflict public defender through the King County Department of Public Defense representing those accused of felony and misdemeanor offenses. She represented litigants in Contempt of Court and Protection Order proceedings in King County Superior Court. Judge Hawkins has provided over 100 hours of bro bono legal representation to indigent litigants in Municipal, District and Superior Court each year as a public service to her community. Judge Hawkins has served with various community organizations to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion, including the Washington State Gender & Justice Commission.   

Judge Hawkins knows first-hand how empowerment can change lives. It was through empowerment that she was able to overcome adversity in her own life. As a single teen mother, she was able to come from a place of housing instability to joining the bench with the support of her family. Judge Hawkins earned an Associate of Arts (AA) Degree from North Seattle Community College (NSCC). She excelled at NSCC, serving as president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and as Legislative and Collegiate Liaison for the NSCC Student Government. After her graduation from NSCC, Judge Hawkins was granted undergraduate admission to the University of Washington (UW). While attending UW, she worked her way through college and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA) Degree in Sociology with an emphasis on Globalization and Social Change. Judge Hawkins was accepted into the University of Washington Law School in Seattle where she earned her Juris Doctorate (JD) Degree. While in law school she excelled in advocacy, competing nationally and locally in various Moot Court and Mock Trial competitions and receiving a number of merit-based scholarships.

Judge Hawkins worked throughout law school, serving as a Rule 9 legal intern with the Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) Department of Security and Emergency Management, where she drafted the SPU Open Space Ordinance. She served as a public defender in various King County courts and in the Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic representing children in Dependency cases.

Judge Hawkins’ judicial philosophy is to ensure that individuals in the court are treated with dignity, to require accountability and to serve with integrity. Her life experience informs this judicial philosophy. Judge Hawkins believes that the justice system should not be used as a weapon, but as a driving force for accepting responsibility and to facilitate positive change. She believes that it is critical to have judges who empower people to take control of their own lives and provide the tools to facilitate success.

Judge Hawkins is dedicated to fulfilling the mission of King County District Court – to provide an accessible forum for the fair, efficient and understandable resolution of civil and criminal case, and to maintain an atmosphere of respect and dignity for all individuals.