Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Seeking appointment to the King County Superior Court


I am seeking appointment to be a judge on the King County Superior Court. For the past five years I have served the citizens of Seattle as a court commissioner, and I would like to expand on my career in public service by using the skills I have learned to serve the residents of King County.

I am here to ask for your support.

To be effective, I believe a judge has four roles. First, there is the role in the courtroom, where the judge must listen to the facts presented, apply the law and ensure that justice is done. On a daily basis this is the obvious role. It requires patience, and the ability to listen to the people who appear in front of you. In addition, it necessitates the continual study of the law so the judge makes well-reasoned and well-supported rulings.

In my current position as Commissioner of Seattle Municipal Court, I handle criminal misdemeanor calendars, do arraignments and reviews in the King County Jail, and regularly sit in our Mental Health and Community Courts. These two courts deal with mentally ill offenders and homeless defendants. I also regularly hear domestic violence cases, DUIs and other misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors. In addition, I preside over traffic court (both contested trials and mitigation hearings), and handle civil trials and hearings on land use and city code violations. I believe the skills I have learned on the Municipal Court bench will make me highly effective on the King County Superior Court.

Second, a judge must be involved in judicial organizations that help shape the future of the court. I currently sit on the board for the District and Municipal Court Judges Association (DMCJA) and serve on several DMCJA sub-committees. In this capacity I learn about the many different issues courts and judges face across the state, and have input into shaping solutions.

Third, judges should attend social functions held by bar associations, community organizations and political entities so they can stay informed about issues facing the greater legal community. Under the judicial code of ethics there are some restrictions on what events judges can attend but, within these restrictions, judges should do so to avoid becoming too isolated.

Fourth, judges need to keep involved in the greater community in which we live. For example, I am a senior student and an instructor at the Emerald City Aikido dojo in Seattle. As a third degree black belt in the martial art of aikido, I train several times each week. I also regularly teach adults, children and teens. Aikido is a discipline that teaches how to physically unbalance an opponent in order to neutralize their attack. While it can be a very powerful and even deadly art, the underlying philosophy of aikido emphasizes how to accept challenge and change in life, and how to neutralize conflicts that occur in daily living. It teaches compassion for others and, most importantly, for oneself.

Working as an instructor for children and teenagers ages 7 to 18 has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I have watched several young men and women train through high school and go off to college with a greater understanding of themselves (mentally and physically) and others. One of my former students recently graduated from art school in New York City, while another is in his junior year at the Rhode Island School of Design. Yet another just graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, and is teaching in Ecuador. All three are exceptional human beings. Watching them grow into adults through aikido has been one of the highlights of my life.



  • Commissioner of Seattle Municipal Court (2004 – Present)
  • Civil Trial Attorney (1999 – 2004)
  • Criminal Prosecutor (1993 – 1999)
  • Member, City of Seattle Domestic Violence Council
  • Board Member, District and Municipal Court Judges Association
  • Journalist, writer for Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Seattle Weekly
  • Author, A Different Shade of Blue: How Women Changed the Face of Police Work


  • King County Bar Association - Exceptionally Well Qualified
  • Washington Women Lawyers - Exceptionally Well Qualified
  • Latino/Latina Bar Association - Exceptionally Well Qualified
  • Q-Law (Gay, Lesbian, Trans) - Exceptionally Well Qualified
  • Seattle Marshals Guild - Exceptionally Well Qualified
  • King County Correctional Officers - Exceptionally Well Qualified

Thank you for your consideration.