From Tv set to U.S. legal professional: Nick Brown ideas ‘different perspective’ on justice in Seattle

The Australian outback is unforgiving, but not considerably additional so than the fraught entire world of partisan politics. Freshly appointed U.S. Attorney Nick Brown, a onetime contestant on TV’s “Survivor,” Harvard Legislation School graduate and U.S. Army protection lawyer, has thrived in each.

Brown, at 44, is one of the youngest top rated federal prosecutors ever in Western Washington and the initial Black person to hold that place, adding to a prolonged list of firsts and accomplishments that took approximately 30 pages to depth in his submission to the U.S. Senate when he was nominated by President Joe Biden.

His strategy is to consider that drive and immediate it at the federal justice method in the Seattle-centered Western District of Washington, exactly where he thinks racial and social inequities have been fed by a form of inertia the place law enforcement and line prosecutors do what they do due to the fact that’s the way it is been done in the past.

The consequence has been mass incarceration, a unsuccessful war on prescription drugs and distrust in the neighborhood. Brown would like to improve route.

As counsel to Gov. Jay Inslee, Brown in 2014 played a key role in the governor’s conclusion to position a moratorium on the dying penalty in Washington, and he’s poised to equally shake up how felony justice and civil legal rights are dealt with at the federal stage, inside of the confines of the law and Office of Justice rules.

“Our legal justice technique has huge challenges,” Brown said in a latest interview from his corner workplace in the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Seattle. The usa, he notes, incarcerates much more people than another produced region with disparate consequences — on persons of shade and the underserved.

“We penalize people significantly additional and for for a longer time than other nations around the world,” he explained. “We should really be angry about this and emotion a honest amount of shame. There are other international locations that do greater.”

In general, he details out, crime is down from in which it was in the 1980s and ’90s, with the famous exception of violent criminal offense and homicide — a little something he blames on America’s one of a kind gun tradition.

“But we can not incarcerate our way out of violent criminal offense,” he stated.

His resolution is shake issues up inside his place of work, urging his prosecutors to rethink the meaning of the term “justice” and to “empower my people to force regulation enforcement into a different way to glance at criminal offense.”

“We get into a schedule, the place we do issues one particular way since that’s the way we’ve usually carried out it,” he said. “I want to adjust that. My finest hope is that I make some marginal distinction.”

As the to start with Black U.S. lawyer in Western Washington, Brown is keenly mindful of becoming both equally a job model for younger men and women of coloration and of his duty to address the problems of longstanding institutional racism and the job that the authorized system has played in marginalizing and victimizing these communities.

“This role is pretty significant to me,” he reported. “My hope is to inspire younger men and women to get concerned. Even so, illustration doesn’t issue if nothing modifications. We want to carry a distinct viewpoint.”

This fight is not new, he points out, but alternatively freshly heard.

“Those voices have been dismissed or discouraged for a extensive time, but this turmoil and hassle has been in existence due to the fact this place was launched,” he claimed. The variance now is “we’re viewing a significant mass of incidents caught on digital camera. Prior to, we had to defer to law enforcement.”

Until now, the U.S. Attorney’s Business has had a single prosecutor assigned to the office’s Civil Division dealing with civil legal rights circumstances, whose job provided overseeing the decadelong effort to reform the Seattle Police Department by a federal consent decree. A Office of Justice investigation concluded SPD officers utilized too much pressure in around 1 of 5 arrests and confirmed disconcerting proof of biased policing.

A ten years later on, the department’s record involving individuals of shade remains troubling and the SPD stays less than federal oversight.

Brown strategies on increasing the selection of lawyers assigned to investigate and litigate civil legal rights cases, with an eye towards developing a multilawyer Civil Legal rights Division in the Seattle business.

“If I really do not do something in another way, then it doesn’t make a change,” he claimed.

He expects pushback. “When you check with people to do points in different ways, it helps make them uncomfortable,” he said.

Brown was born in San Francisco, but moved to Steilacoom at a youthful age when his father, a profession navy person, was stationed at what was then Fort Lewis. He attended substantial school domestically and graduated magna cum laude from Morehouse University in Atlanta in 1999. He attended Harvard Regulation University and been given his Juris Doctor in 2002.

Even though in legislation faculty, as an journey, he became a contestant — and a heartthrob to tens of millions — throughout the 2nd year of “Survivor,” filmed in the Australian outback, 1 of the greatest rated seasons of the reality display. Brown noted that 50,000 men and women used for the present that time.

“I was in regulation university at the time and was hunting for a enjoyable escape ahead of I entered the ‘real planet,’ ” Brown wrote in an e mail. “Overall it was a excellent working experience, but it was 21 yrs back.”

Although in university and regulation school, Brown modeled “as a element-time career, but nothing way too extravagant,” doing work at community displays and in ads for designers and clothes retailers, he stated.

Brown joined the Army out of regulation college and labored as an legal professional very first as a lawful products and services and tax officer at Fort Bliss, Texas, and afterwards as an Army trial protection attorney for the Choose Advocate Common at Fort Bliss, Joint Foundation Lewis-McChord and in Iraq, where by he defended soldiers accused of crimes and violations of army law. He realized the rank of captain and was awarded a Bronze Star in 2005.

In 2007, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office environment in Seattle, wherever he worked six years as an assistant U.S. lawyer striving legal scenarios, generally involving gun crimes and medicines. Immediately after leaving the place of work, Brown joined Inslee’s office, where by he labored as typical counsel to the governor.

“Nick joined the administration in the initially year of my governorship, substantially to my delight,” Inslee wrote in an e mail. “He was a scarce particular person with so considerably knowledge for these kinds of a youthful man.” 

Brown labored as a volunteer in Inslee’s unsuccessful marketing campaign for president in 2020. He was a Washington delegate for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.

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