In this blog post, we wish to convey information about the upcoming judicial elections in Washington.
Because Judges at all levels, from each County’s Superior Court to the state’s Supreme Court, are elected positions in our state, we believe that our taking some time to help provide information about the candidates might be helpful. Our position on candidates comes from two points of view, who is the most qualified, and who is most likely to be supportive of the rights of individuals, especially for those individuals who are our clients.
WASHINGTON SUPREME COURT-
Justice Helen Whitener According to the Washington State Association for Justice, of which we are members, Justice Helen Whitener is the highest regarded and rated applicant for the Court this year, out of a dozen applicants. She served as a Pierce County Superior Court judge until her appointment to the Washington State Supreme Court in April of 2020. Governor Jay Inslee appointed her to the Pierce County Superior Court in 2015 and she was elected to her position in 2015 and was re-elected to a full term in 2016.
Prior to serving on the Superior Court bench, Justice Whitener served as a judge on the Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals and as a pro-tem judge in Pierce County District Court and the City of Tacoma Municipal Court. Before becoming a judge, Justice Whitener litigated both civil and criminal cases for 14 years as first a prosecutor and defense attorney and later as a managing partner of the law firm of Whitener Rainey Writt PS.
Her opponent, Mr. Serns, is a retired School Superintendent who passed the Bar at age 68 in May and filed for this office one week later. He may be a very nice man, but he has never practiced law.
Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis
A graduate of the University of New Mexico and the University of Washington School of Law, Justice Montoya-Lewis has spent her career as a practicing attorney, tribal court judge, superior court judge, associate professor, and advocate for juvenile justice reform, equity, and tribal communities.
Justice Montoya-Lewis previously served as Chief Judge for the Lummi, Nooksack, and Upper Skagit tribes, giving her a comprehensive understanding of issues affecting Native Americans and indigenous people in Washington state. She has served as a trial court judge and as an appellate judge for tribes throughout the Pacific Northwest.
In 2014, Justice Montoya-Lewis was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to serve on the Whatcom Superior Court, where she served for five years, winning election and re-election. Justice Montoya-Lewis oversaw criminal and civil cases while on the Whatcom Superior Court, including cases involving child welfare, family law, civil jury, and bench trials, and felony criminal cases.
Justice Montoya-Lewis has an expert, scholarly understanding of the law, having worked as an Associate Professor at Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College, where she both taught and conducted research. Justice Montoya-Lewis’ research focused on issues ranging from juvenile justice to tribal courts.
An unyielding advocate for children and youth, Justice Montoya-Lewis has been recognized locally and nationally for her work on juvenile justice reform. In 2018, the Brigid Collins Family Support Center awarded her the Children’s Advocacy Center Community Leadership Award, and in 2015, she was awarded the Dean’s Leadership Award from the UW School of Law.
Justice Montoya-Lewis has served on the Washington State Advisory Group on juvenile justice, the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, has been a member of the Family Violence Advisory Board for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Judicial Engagement Network and is a fellow of the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform.
Justice Montoya-Lewis is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Isleta tribe and a descendant of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe. She lives with her family, splitting time between Olympia and Bellingham.
Her opponent, Judge Larsen, is a former long time State Farm insurance defense lawyer and a Municipal Court Judge in Federal way. He has run previously for the Court.
Local Judicial Races:
King County Superior Court:
Snohomish County Superior Court:
Cassandra Lopez Shaw
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