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U.S. Department of Justice Selects Auburn Lawyer to Lead International Training for Prosecutors/Judges

October 26, 2010

The U.S. Department of Justice and Department of State has selected Auburn Attorney, Matt Williams to lead judicial and prosecutorial training sessions in Central Europe. Williams is being dispatched to Tirana, Albania for two weeks in November, where he will partner with members of the DOJ in conducting training for Judges and Advocates from several Balkan countries.

Williams has led similar training in the Balkans and in the Middle East, and is part of a select group of US attorneys who volunteer their time to spreading the “rule-of-law” around the world. Williams is known in this community as a “go-to” organizer in developing programs that help emerging democracies build justice systems that support the stability of democracy while respecting cultural values.

Williams, is a highly respected Judge Pro-Tem in King and Pierce Counties as well as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law. He is known for devoting most of his vacation time to working with court systems both in and out of the United States.

“Effective justice systems are a key ingredient in building sustainable peace in regions of the world that are struggling with ethnic conflicts and violence that dates back thousands of year,” Williams noted. Williams went on to express his belief that lawyers in the United States can learn a lot from stepping outside of our normal frame of reference, and seeing our justice system through the eyes of those who may not possess the freedoms and rights that we take for granted.

"Ultimately, the protection of Public Safety is Job-One for any system of laws, " Williams said."That includes creating and maintaining a system of justice that protects the public safety and civil liberties without creating martyrs. Whether they are an accused or a victim, people entering any justice system, need to know that they will be treated fairly and equally, and offenders will be held accountable for their actions."

Matt Williams is a candidate for King County District Court Judge in the South East Division of King County. The division includes Renton, Kent, Auburn, Maple Valley, Covington, Black Diamond and Enumclaw. NEWS ARTICLE


Williams meets Kiwanis to discuss 'protecting the children of war: Judicial systems and rule of law'

September 12, 2010

The Kiwanis Club of the Valley (Auburn) hosted Matt Williams on Wednesday.

Williams, a candidate for District Court Judge in the South East Division of King County, led a discussion on America's involvement in the rebuilding of post-conflict nations. Williams and members of the Kiwanis Club shared their international experiences and the impact that one person can have in changing the lives of many people.

Williams spoke about his experiences in the war-torn Balkans and in the Middle East where he has worked with the U.S. Department of Justice in assisting emerging democracies build justice systems. He explained what happens after a country's internal infrastructure is destroyed by war and how the Justice and State departments, as well as other public and private organizations, are stepping up to help build sustainable democracies around the world.

"The lessons that we are learning in Kosovo about what works and what doesn't work will help us build a success story in post-conflict Iraq and Afghanistan," Williams said.

Williams noted that the key to winning "Charlie Wilson's war" is to make sure that after the conflict is over, emerging democracies are able to build roads, educate their people, have clean water and have the tools to create a sustainable economy and social order.

"Peace, economic stability and democracy require a justice system that protects individual rights while still protecting public safety and property," Williams said.

"Ultimately, the protection of public safety is Job One for any system of laws," Williams said. "That includes creating and maintaining a system of justice that protects the public safety and civil liberties without creating martyrs. Whether they are an accused or a victim, people entering any justice system, need to know that they will be treated fairly and equally, and that offenders will be held accountable for their actions."

Matt Williams is a candidate for King County District Court Judge in the South East Division of King County. The division includes Renton, Kent, Auburn, Maple Valley, Covington, Black Diamond and Enumclaw

Read the Auburn Reporter NEWS ARTICLE


Auburn Noon Lions enjoyed Matt Williams' presentation on "Winning Charlie Wilson's War: Building Democracy and Peace in Post-Conflict Countries"

August 17, 2010

Auburn Attorney, Matt Williams presented a moving presentation to the Auburn noon Lions on "Building Democracy and the Rule of Law in Post-Conflict Countries: Winning Charlie Wilson's War". Matt spoke about his experiences in the war-torn Balkans and in the Middle East where he has assisted emerging democracies build justice systems that would support their democratic and economic development. He has been dispatched to the Balkan region several times over the last few years by the US Department of Justice and US Department of State to work with newly formed governments in advancing the Rule-of-Law.

Williams explained what happens after a country's internal infrastructure is destroyed and how the US Department of Justice, State Department, as well as other public and private organizations are stepping up to help build sustainable democracies around the world. "The lessons that we learn from Kosovo about what works and what doesn't work will help us build a success story in post conflict Iraq and Afganistan", Williams commented.

Williams noted that the key to winning "Charlie Wilson's war" is to make sure that after conflict is over, emerging democracies are able to build roads, educate their people, have clean water, and have the tools to create a sustainable economy and social order. "Peace, economic stability, and democracy require a justice system that doesn't create martyrs while still protecting public safety and property", Williams said.

Williams shared with the group that his work in emerging democracies has helped him have an even greater appreciation for the U.S. system of justice, and a great respect for the other types of justice systems that he has worked within. His experience in helping to build new justice systems has given him unique insight into the core principles of what makes justice and court systems work, and what is necessary to make them work better.


Auburn Lawyer Assists in International Rule of Law Initiatives

September 22, 2006

Auburn Attorney, Matt Williams has returned from Azerbaijain where he was assisting the U.S. Department of Justice and Azeri Ministry of Justice in anti-corruption and rule of law initiatives. Azerbaijain is a former Soviet Republic. It is located just north of Iran.

Williams serves as a volunteer with the American Bar Association - Central Europe and Eurasia Law Initiative (ABA-CEELI) and works closely with the U.S. Department of Justice in promoting rule of law and democracy around the globe.

J. Michael Roake, Criminal Law Liaison to the Azeribaijain Ministry of Justice, speaking from Baku, commented on the importance building stability in the Middle East by building effective justice systems. “Many former Soviet Republics are just discovering the importance of the Rule-Of-Law in the survival of their newly created democracies. In many of these countries, corruption was rampant under the old soviet regime. We are bringing rule of law to countries that really need it. Not surprisingly, we are finding a target rich environment for our work in the prevention of corruption.”

Human trafficking and corruption is a deep rooted problem in many countries in the Middle East and Central Europe. The spread of these problems can florish where there is not effective law enforcement and judicial resources, or where the resources that are available are not effectively deployed.

Roake went on to say “we are careful in selecting who we ask to do this work. It is a fairly limited group. It is not enough that they be exceptional trial lawyers and teachers. Our teams must have a deep understanding of how justice systems work, so that they can adapt to cultures that are very different from what the average American lawyer faces in Hometown, USA.”

While in Azerbaijain, Williams’ team focused on working with judges, prosecutors, and government officials to provide skills needed to effectively investigate and prosecute cases involving money laundering and human trafficking.

Williams noted that the Azeri justice system is hampered by Stalin era purges. “Under the Soviet regime, many lawyers, doctors, writers, and newspaper editors were simply executed, which removed an entire generation of potential mentors for the present day professionals that are building democracy in Azerbaijain. Our challenge is to provide the present day judges, prosecutors, and advocates with the tools they need to build a justice system that will support and sustain their democracy”.


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