Judge Carol A. Schapira retired from the King County Superior Court bench and as a trustee on the Public Law Library of King County’s (PLLKC) Board of Trustees at the beginning of November. She served 25 years on the Court, starting in 1989. She served on the Library's Board of Trustees starting in 2012.
During her tenure on the Board, the library changed its name from the King County Law Library to the Public Law Library of King County to emphasize the library's role in serving everyone, whether a judge, governmental official, attorney or member of the general public.As a judge, she served as chair of the Superior Court Judges' Association (SCJA) Equality and Fairness Committee and also as its treasurer. She was an active member of the Pro Se, Sealed File, and Courts and Community committees in the King County Superior Court. Judge Schapira graduated from Hofstra University magna cum laude as a math major in 1969, and from Harvard Law School in 1972.1Succeeding Judge Schapira on the Library's Board is Judge Monica J. Benton.2 She was appointed to the King County Superior Court bench in January 2008 by Gov. Chris Gregoire and King County Superior Court Presiding Judge Susan Craighead appointed her to the Board of Trustees of the PLLKC last month.
Born in Augsburg, Germany, and then educated in the Taipei American School, Judge Benton grew up with an international perspective. She earned her law degree from Southwestern University School of Law and began her legal career as judicial law clerk to Hon. Jack Tanner, the first African American judge to serve on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. She then practiced in the Criminal Division of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice, Fraud Section, Criminal Division over the course of 10 years.
In 1995, she was appointed to the King County District Court bench; in 2000, she was appointed to serve as a U.S. magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, becoming the first African American woman to serve on that court. She is a past-president of the Loren Miller Bar Association and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including being named “Woman of the Year” by Seattle University School of Law in 2004.
The library's current Board of Trustees and the library's staff members were sorry to see Judge Schapira leave, but are excited to have Judge Benton's energetic participation in overseeing the future of the library.
1 Information about Judge Schapira is taken largely from biographical material on the King County Superior Court website.
2 Information about Judge Benton is taken from biographical material on the King County Superior Court website and from BlackPast.org athttp://www.blackpast.org/contributor/benton-magistrate-judge-monica-j.