Honorable Ed McKenna

Judge McKenna

Judge Ed McKenna is the current Presiding Judge. His first judicial term began in 2011 and he has held several calendar assignments including Mental Health Court, Domestic Violence Court and general trial courts. Considered "therapeutic" in nature, Seattle's Domestic Violence Court and Mental Health Court employs interventions to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.     

A graduate of the University of Washington and Seattle University School of Law, Judge McKenna's legal background includes more than 20 years as a Senior Prosecutor with the Seattle City Attorney's Office. Judge McKenna has also volunteered his time to further the interests of the legal community as well as those less fortunate by assisting low-income homeowners improve the health and safety of their homes and revitalizing the community. As Presiding Judge, Judge McKenna assists in formulating policies impacting present and future utilization of court services.   

  • University of Washington, B.A. Psychology
  • University of Notre Dame Law School (London Program), Certificate of Completion
  • Seattle University (formerly University of Puget Sound), Juris Doctor

Past and Present

  • Judge, Seattle Municipal Court, 2011 - present
  • Senior Assistant Seattle City Attorney, 1990-2011
  • Hearing Examiner, Washington State Board of Tax Appeals, 1995-2001
  • Associate Attorney, Holland & Scales, P.S., Inc. 1989-1990
  • Law Clerk, Washington State Board of Tax Appeals, 1987-1989


  • American Judges' Association
  • District and Municipal Court Judges' Association
  • Instructor, WSBA Trial Advocacy Program
  • WSBA Judicial Selection Committee
  • Washington Lawyer Practice Manual Committee
  • Vice President, Northwest Indian Bar Association
  • Washington Association of Municipal Attorneys
  • Student Mentor, Seattle University
  • Mock Trial Judge, Seattle University School of Law
  • Mock Trial Judge, University of Washington School of Law
  • Volunteer Attorney, Lake City Legal Clinic
  • Volunteer for "Rebuilding Together"

Visiting My Courtroom

Visitors and persons scheduled to appear in court should review the following "Do's and Don'ts".

  • Do be on time and sign the "Sign-in sheet".
  • Don't wear a hat (subject to exceptions).
  • Do converse with others outside the courtroom.
  • Don't chew gum.
  • Do be patient.  Attorneys are busy and court calendars can often take several hours so please plan accordingly.
  • Don't eat in the courtroom. Coffee with lids and water bottles are OK.
  • Don't use your cell phone in the courtroom. Your phone must be turned off. Only attorneys may use cell phones in court for work-related reasons.
  • Do ask the Bailiff if you have any questions.
  • Follow any instructions given by court staff. 

Information for Attorneys

  • If you have any procedural questions, please ask court staff.  
  • If attorneys will be late, keeping the court staff informed is appreciated.
  • Notice of Appearance should be filed before the case is called.
  • Generally, the court will allow only two pre-trial continuances unless a compelling reason is given.
  • All parties signing pleadings have the responsibility to ensure the paperwork is accurate and complete. 
  • Please submit petitions for deferred prosecutions and materials in advance of the hearing.
  • The court will give priority to interpreter cases and in-custody defendants.
  • Please let court staff know at the earliest opportunity if a matter will result in a plea or disposition. The bailiff can then research and calculate jail credit.
  • Please use the buttons on the microphones if you don't want the judge (or the record) to hear your private conversation.
  • Please keep your courtroom conversations to a minimum.
  • When continuing a case, please use the hearing date as the commencement date, as opposed to using the next hearing date.  
  • The court prefers "off-record" continuances. Off-record continuances are given priority. If you wish to continue a case "off the record", your case must meet the following conditions:
  1. The continuance must be the first or second continuance only.
  2. The continuance form must be filled out entirely. Continuance forms not filled out completely and accurately will be declined. 
  3. The continuance must be agreed to and signed by all the parties.
  4. Defendant and counsel must remain present in the courtroom until the order has been signed and returned.
  5. Please check with the staff for available dates.
  6. The clerk will review your completed form and present it to the judge.  A decision will be returned to you at the earliest opportunity. 
  • 3.6 motions are generally not reserved to the trial court. If setting a matter for a separate 3.6 motion date, please inquire with the clerk for available dates and times before the case is called.
  • Audio and video recordings should be submitted with motion briefing so the court can review the items in advance of the hearing.
  • Local rule SMCLR 8.2.1 must be strictly adhered to.
  • If entering a plea that recommends "Credit for time served", the form should either reflect the actual time served or the parties must be able to articulate how many days the defendant has actually served. If unsure, please ask the bailiff to calculate the exact number of days before the case is called.
  • Interpreters should be provided with a separate copy of the plea form or other documents prior to calling the case.
  • Pleas and dispositions should be completed before 11:40 a.m. and 4:10 p.m. Please plan accordingly or the case may be held over to another calendar.
  • Stipulations that save time or improve efficiency are always appreciated by the court.
  • Allegations of probation violations should be discussed by the parties prior to the judge taking the bench. It's the court's experience that agreed recommendations often result.
  • When assigned for trial in my court, you will be given a separate document with instructions on trial procedures.
  • Submission of jury instructions is expected at the earliest opportunity.