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Delivering outstanding legal services to the City of Seattle Peter S. Holmes, City Attorney


Pete Holmes, City Attorney Photo by William Ceriale

About Pete Holmes

Pete Holmes received his B.A. from Yale College in 1978 and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1984. He first practiced complex commercial litigation for over two decades, including stints as both partner-in-charge of the Insolvency and Reorganization Group and Hiring Partner in the Seattle office of Miller Nash LLP. Pete was elected City Attorney in November 2009, defeating a two-term incumbent with 64% of the vote, and was re-elected to a second term without opposition in 2013. Pete was an original member of the Seattle Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB) and served as chair from 2003 to 2008. There he championed the public release of police records and OPARB reports. He is counsel of record for the City of Seattle in the consent decree entered into with the U.S. Department of Justice to reform SPD, in United States of America v. The City of Seattle. As City Attorney he has worked to make Seattle city government more transparent, and was appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire to the State Sunshine Committee.

Pete is committed to reform of the criminal justice system. Upon taking office in 2010, he halted all prosecutions for marijuana possession, and in 2011 he became a primary sponsor of Initiative 502 to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. I-502 passed statewide by a margin of about 12 points.

Reflections on an end, and a beginning

Although 2013 witnessed the end of my first term as City Attorney, it marked a new beginning for the CAO. We are taking this office to the next level even as Seattle continues as a world leader in what The Brookings Institution has dubbed the "Metropolitan Revolution." A world-class city requires a world-class municipal law department, and I'm proud to report that we're prepared to meet all new challenges in 2014 and beyond!

Police Reform and Culture and the DOJ/SPD Consent Decree

"With many of the pieces of police reform seemingly in place, a cautionary (though by no means pessimistic) word about the police culture at SPD is appropriate as I close out not just another year in office, but fully one dozen years in civilian oversight of the police." (For full article, see Page 3 of the 2013 Annual Report.)

Drug Policy Reform

"It's one thing to discredit the failed policy of prohibition when it comes to the War on Drugs. It's quite another to substitute, from the ground up, a completely new, state-licensed marijuana supply system that promises to more effectively regulate a potentially harmful drug where prohibition has failed." (For full article, see Page 5 of the 2013 Annual Report.)

Life in a modern city doesn't pause amid reform efforts...

Seattle is a full service municipal corporation with a nearly $4 billion annual operating budget. Every day, nearly 100 lawyers and 70 legal professionals in the CAO advise and defend city officials in all aspects of city functions. The remainder of this 2013 Annual Report showcases progress from CAO's four divisions--Civil, Criminal, Precinct Liaison and Administration--toward solving some of the thorniest problems presented us by the City Council, the Mayor's Office and all the City departments. (For full article, see Page 7 of the 2013 Annual Report.)

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