Jessica E. Levin

Jessica Levin

Assistant Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality

 Sullivan Hall 315


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  • Appellate Litigation
  • Civil Litigation
  • Civil Rights
  • Law and Inequality
  • Law and Social Science
  • State Constitutional Litigation


  • BA, Comparative History of Ideas & European Studies, University of Washington, 2003
  • JD, Seattle University School of Law, magna cum laude, 2008 


Jessica Levin is an assistant director and staff attorney at the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law, where she teaches the Civil Rights Clinic and engages in a broad range of civil rights litigation before state and federal courts. Her work, through both direct representation and amicus curiae advocacy, addresses issues of structural inequality, racism, and explicit and implicit bias in the legal system. Jessica's experience before joining the Korematsu Center in 2013 includes two judicial clerkships and private practice in commercial litigation.


Selected Cases, Amicus Briefs & Other Advocacy

Racial Justice

  • Task Force 2.0 on Race and Washington's Criminal Justice System - Chair, Juvenile Justice Subcommittee (Convened by the deans of Washington's three law schools, Task Force 2.0 seeks to contribute to the racial justice movement, which calls national attention to the devaluation of Black lives by police but which also calls broader attention to systemic discrimination in the criminal legal system. Chaired the Juvenile Justice Subcommittee of Task Force 2.0 on Race and Washington's Criminal Justice System. Coordinated and oversaw the research and drafting of the subcommittee's report and recommendations that address racial disparity in Washington's juvenile legal system. Solicited system-involved youth of color to lead recommendations process.)
  • Brief of Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality et al. as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner, State v. Rivers (Wash. Supreme Ct., No. 100922-4) (supporting Mr. Rivers's request for Court to ensure that people accused of crimes have an effective way, under our state constitution, to challenge a jury venire that is not representative of a fair cross section of their community; arguing that an effective remedial approach to fair cross section claims under our state constitution (1) will help counteract our country's racist history of excluding Black people from jury service; (2) is a principled development of this Court's anti-discrimination jurisprudence that accounts for the operation of systemic racism; and (3) recognizes important empirical evidence that diverse juries engage in a more thorough-and more fair-deliberative process)
  • Brief of Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner, PRP of Asaria Miller (Wash. Ct. of Appeals, No. 52119-9-II) (arguing for a conclusive presumption of prejudice for individuals requesting resentencing who were sentenced as juveniles in adult court and were sentenced before youth was required to be considered as a mitigating factor; arguing that youth of color are more likely to have received harsher sentences, as the failure to consider youth leaves race to operate as an aggravator due to implicit racial bias and adultification of Black youth)
  • Brief of Amici Curiae Washington Defender Association et al. in Support of K.W., In re Dependency of K.W., a Minor Child (Wash. Supreme Ct., No. 99301-7) (setting forth historical and empirical evidence of the family regulation system's racism against Black families; arguing that the placement statute must be interpreted to reorient toward placing children with their own families, including kinship care; discussing how system's invocation of "best interests" standard gives cover to agency decision makers in unwarranted removal of Black children from their families and is evidence of the system's implicit preference for the white nuclear family)
  • Brief of Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner, State v. Dacarius Holliday (La. Supreme Ct., No. 2017-KA-1921) (urging the Court to recognize the importance of adequate representation of Black men in the jury venire in capital cases; arguing the unique experience of Black men in America, both historically and currently, qualifies them as a distinct group under Duren v. Missouri; presenting empirical analyses of capital cases demonstrating that more diverse juries engage in a more robust and accountable deliberative process; some of these studies also revealed that the presence of even one Black man on a Black capital defendant's jury decreases the likelihood of a death sentence)
  • Brief of Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner, State v. Boot (Wash. Ct. of Appeals, No. 35408-3-III) (with Melissa Lee and Nicholas Doherty) (arguing that sentencing courts, when sentencing a juvenile prosecuted in adult court, must acknowledge and incorporate race-based trauma as part of the cumulative trauma that Miller v. Alabama recognizes as diminishing the culpability of young offenders)
  • Brief of Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality as Amicus Curiae in Support of Plaintiff-Appellee and for Affirmance, Fair Housing Center of Washington v. Breier-Scheetz Properties, LLC et al. (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 17-35898) (with Melissa Lee) (supporting FHCW's request to affirm trial court's determination that defendant-landlord's occupancy restrictions had a disparate impact on families and thus constituted housing discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, by providing historical context demonstrating that occupancy restrictions have and continue to have a disproportionate impact on families of color, and asking the court to affirm the award of punitive damages, arguing that their deterrent effect is as important in disparate impact cases as it is in cases of intentional discrimination)

Juvenile Sentencing

  • In re the Personal Restraint Petition of Raymond Mayfield Williams, Jr. (Wash. Ct. of Appeals & Wash. Supreme Ct., 100222-0) (with Robert Chang & Melissa Lee) (in post-conviction proceedings, representing individual who is sentenced to life without parole under the three strikes law where one of the strikes was committed as a juvenile, arguing that the use of a juvenile strike to support the state's harshest punishment is a violation of the Washington constitution, due to the intrinsic nature of youth that undercuts the penological justifications for imposing harsh punishment)
  • Brief of Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner, State of Washington v. Timothy Haag (Wash. Supreme Ct., No. 97766-6) (with Robert Chang and Melissa Lee) (advancing state constitutional argument that courts must set sentences at or near the statutory minimum of 25 years where a child convicted of aggravated murder is found to be less culpable and not irreparably corrupt and advocating for the recognition of Mr. Haag's sentence as a de facto life sentence where he would not have the opportunity to seek release until he had served at least 46 years for a crime committed when at age 17)
  • Brief of Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner, State of Washington v. Jeremiah James Gilbert (Wash. Supreme Court, No. 95814-9) (with Melissa Lee, Robert Chang & Lorraine Bannai) (advancing state constitutional argument that the court must interpret sentencing statutes to guarantee a juvenile offender a meaningful opportunity for release, consistent with Washington's categorical bar of juvenile life without parole and its recognition that Miller v. Alabama applies to both de facto and actual juvenile life without parole sentences)
  • Brief of Amicus Curiae Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, Columbia Legal Services, TeamChild, and Washington Defender Association as Amici Curiae in Support of Respondent, State of Washington v. Brian Bassett (Wash. Supreme Court, No. 94556-0) (with Robert Chang) (arguing that the cruel punishment provision of the Washington constitution mandates a categorical bar on juvenile life without parole, and providing the court with additional argument on how the Gunwall factors should be utilized to develop a principled and independent body of cruel punishment jurisprudence under the state constitution)
  • Brief of Amicus Curiae Fred. T Korematsu Center for Law and Equality In Support of Petitioners, State of Washington v. Zyion Houston-Sconiers and Treson Roberts (Wash. Supreme Court, No. 92605-1) (with Robert Chang & co-counsel at Perkins Coie, LLP) (arguing that the cruel punishment provision of Washington's constitution renders the auto-decline statute unconstitutional, as it subjects juvenile offenders to the risk of unconstitutional punishment)

Other Civil Rights Issues

  • Native Village of Hooper Bay et al. v. Guay et al. (Superior Court for the State of Alaska at Anchorage, No. 3AN-14-05238 CI) (with Robert Chang, serve as co-counsel with Alaska Legal Services Corporation, in a case concerning the due process rights of native foster children who are involuntarily admitted for emergency care to a private psychiatric hospital; case seeks to secure the right to judicial review to justify continued detention; trial court has awarded preliminary injunctive relief to the Tribes, and there is a pending motion for summary judgment)
  • Brief of Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner, Martinez-Cuevas et al. v. Deruyter Bros Dairy, Inc. et al. (Wash. Supreme Ct., No. 96267-7) (with Robert Chang and Charlotte Garden) (in case challenging the constitutionality of the exclusion of agricultural workers from the state's minimum wage act, arguing for application of intermediate scrutiny test in recognition that the exclusion has a disparate impact on a protected racial group, as agricultural workers are virtually all Latinx)
  • Brief of Amicus Curiae Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality in Support of S.K.-P. and E.H., In re the Dependency of E.H., and In re the Dependency of S.K.-P. (Wash. Supreme Court, No. 94798-8) (with Lorraine Bannai & Robert Chang) (arguing that the due process clause of Washington's constitution categorically entitles children in dependency proceedings a right to counsel)
  • Brief of Amicus Curiae Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality In Support of Appellant, State of Washington v. Allen Eugene Gregory (Wash. Supreme Court, No. 88086-7) (with Robert Chang) (arguing that Washington's death penalty statute is unconstitutional under both the Washington and federal constitutions, that Mr. Gregory's statistical evidence of racial disproportionality in the imposition of the death penalty in Washington provided the Court a basis on which to revisit the constitutionality of the statute, and discussing the extra-legal factors such as racial bias that continue to influence the administration of the death penalty)
  • Anthony Merrick v. Inmate Legal Services, et al. (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 15-15338) (co-counsel with Charlotte Garden & student counsel) (represented Mr. Merrick in his appeal of his § 1983 claim alleging that Inmate Legal Services violated his First Amendment right of access to the courts when it failed to file his pro se motion for reconsideration of his criminal appeal in the Arizona Court of Appeals, as well as his claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act)