Jan. 31 is an important day for some ambitious attorneys in Kitsap County. It is the deadline by which superior court applications are due to the office of Gov. Christine Gregoire, who will use them to appoint Kitsap County’s two newest judges.
A gaggle (Or perhaps a herd? Or flock?) of lawyers have each informed the Kitsap Crime and Justice blog they intend to fill out a lengthy application form and ask for the chance to take the bench. Here’s who have confirmed they’re going for it:
Jennifer Forbes, attorney at McGavick Graves PS in Tacoma, handling “representation of governmental entities and private clients in land use cases, civil litigation, and criminal defense,” according to the firm’s web site. She’s applied for judge before, most recently in 2006.
Bill Houser, criminal defense attorney currently working in the Kitsap County Office of Public Defense.
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Karen Klein, Bainbridge-based attorney and chief executive officer and general counsel of Silver Planet, Inc., a senior health care concierge service. Klein, formerly a general practitioner, also put in for the seat Olsen was appointed to in 2004.
Craig Lindsay, a partner in Silverdale-based Lindsay Olsen PLLC is a former Kitsap County deputy prosecutor. Now works primarily as a family law attorney.
Marilyn Paja, Kitsap County District Court judge since 1999 and former Gig Harbor municipal court judge and Port Orchard general practice lawyer.
Diane Russell, a Silverdale-based general practice lawyer and former Kitsap County deputy prosecutor.
Greg Wall, Port Orchard-based general practice lawyer. Wall had previously run unsuccessfully for Kitsap County Superior Court judge in 2008. He was elected in November to the South Kitsap School Board.
I did also confirm with several other lawyers that they’re not seeking the seat, including Bremerton general practice attorney Ed Wolfe and Port Orchard defense and family attorney Melissa Hemstreet. I even asked Brian Moran, the state’s chief deputy attorney general under Rob McKenna, if he’d pondered a run. His answer: no. “I thoroughly enjoy my current job and I am very, very fortunate to be able to serve in this capacity with Attorney General McKenna.”
Two seats on the bench opened in December after Kitsap County Superior Court Judges Russell Hartman and Theodore Spearman announced their respective retirements. Hartman plans to enter into “other forms of public service” and Spearman, sadly, passed away after fighting a brain aneurysm.
The governor’s office has consolidated the process to pick the two judges into one.
“Applicants to fill the position created by the retirement of Judge Russell W. Hartman will also be considered for (Judge Spearman’s) judicial vacancy, with no separate application or other communication necessary,” according to a Jan. 23 letter from Narda Pierce, Gregoire’s general counsel. The governor is aiming to make the appointments as soon as possible.
The Kitsap County Bar Association is also going to vet candidates and conduct a “judicial preference poll.” We’re hoping to get results of the poll and will post them to the blog.
Bear in mind two other things:
- This is different than the race currently cementing for Washington Court of Appeals Judge David Armstrong’s seat.
- Any candidate this year that is appointed to superior court by Gregoire must be elected by the people this fall (though it’s no secret incumbents in judicial races are hard to beat).
Oh, and one more thing: if I am missing someone, please don’t be shy about it. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will amend the list.