A former prosecutor and judge who once helped set up a drug-treatment program may become the first Latino on the federal bench in Seattle, the Post-Intelligencer reports. U.S. Magistrate Ricardo Martinez, who dreamed of being a lawyer while growing up in a migrant farm family, has been nominated by President Bush.
Martinez, 52, was a prosecutor in King County (Seattle) for 10 years. He said he had vowed that “when people leave my courtroom, even if they are unhappy, they are at least willing to say that they understood what was going on.”
When he was a prosecutor in the 1980s, more than 50 percent of the cases involved drugs. Chief prosecutor Norm Maleng decided it made sense to have a drug unit. He chose Martinez to run it. In 1990, Martinez was appointed to King County Superior Court, where he played a central role in the creation of a drug-offender program that focuses on treatment rather than punishment.