Adam Cornell to run for county prosecutor

Edmonds resident has support of local government leaders
By Brian Soergel | Dec 02, 2017
Adam Cornell

Adam Cornell, a 15-year Snohomish County deputy prosecutor from Edmonds, has announced that he will seek the elected prosecuting attorney job in 2018.

Incumbent Mark Roe is retiring from the position and has endorsed Cornell, along with former Govs. Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke, County Executive Dave Somers, Sheriff Ty Trenary and over two dozen other current and former elected and civic leaders.

They include Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling, Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan, Rep. Strom Peterson, Sen. Marko Liias and all seven Edmonds city councilmembers.

“I have known Adam for several years and know him as a strong, fair-minded person,” Earling said. “His years and experience in the prosecutor’s office will serve Snohomish County well. I am pleased to support him.”

“Adam Cornell is extremely well qualified and is absolutely ready to step into the role as Snohomish County Prosecutor,” added Edmonds Chief of Police Al Compaan. “He is respected, principled, tenacious, and empathetic. He is simply a fine person who has my unqualified support.”

This is Cornell’s first run for public office after working on criminal cases in the county, as well as a stint as a special assistant U.S. attorney. In 2015, he was one of 10 who applied to be named to Edmonds City Council after Peterson won a term in the Legislature. Councilmembers selected Mike Nelson over Cornell and eight other candidates.

“I am excited to seek this new role, building on my experience and commitment to the families of Snohomish County,” Cornell said. “I want to be prosecutor to preserve the tradition of seeking justice fairly, firmly and ethically to protect our communities.

“I want to continue fostering collaboration and innovation among law and justice partners as we look for ways to not only enforce our laws and protect crime victims and their families, but adopt innovations that restore lives impacted by addiction and other crises.”

During his tenure at the prosecutor’s office – according to a news release announcing his candidacy – Cornell prosecuted some of the highest profile criminal cases and expanded alternative justice programs, especially those aimed to help people suffering mental illness and addiction crises receive treatment instead of what he calls costly and ineffective incarceration.

Cornell said he views these types of alternative sentencing and treatment programs as critical to not only improving criminal justice, but also reducing low level property crimes connected to the opioid epidemic.

“Having stood at crime scenes with first responders and having later met with the families devastated by tragedy, I am unwavering in my dedication to justice and seeking sentencing that brings a degree of resolution in serious crimes,” he said.

“Alongside ensuring justice for crime victims and families, support is also needed for innovations like drug and mental health courts to help assist low level offenders with unique challenges that often require alternatives to traditional prosecution and sentencing.”

Cornell said he was drawn to the law by challenges he faced in his own life, growing up in foster care and experiencing the disruption and destabilization that results in disproportionately lower graduation rates, and higher involvement with juvenile justice.

A longtime advocate for stronger outreach and intervention for at-risk youth, Cornell sees his role as prosecutor take a higher profile role on behalf of kids and families.

“I want to be a Prosecutor who can be a strong voice for kids at risk of slipping through the cracks, making sure more foster children and those who face an uncertain future are given hope and opportunity,” he said.

“I want to inspire others to public service and civic engagement, and encourage a spirit of volunteerism that connects people to their neighbors in a meaningful way – for the good of everyone in our region.”


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