Kitsap Crime and Justice

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Long list of lawyers lining up for Kitsap County Superior Court seats

January 25th, 2012 by josh farley


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:

Steve Dixon, a Port Orchard-based general practice lawyer. Dixon had applied previously for appointment to the seat that ultimately went to Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Sally Olsen in 2004.

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.

Kevin Hull, chief senior deputy prosecutor in charge of the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Assault Unit.

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.

Two other general practice attorneys, Tracy Flood and Bruce Danielson (who has run for judge and for county prosecutor), both of Port Orchard, are still weighing whether to submit an application.

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 jfarley@kitsapsun.com and I will amend the list.

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2 Responses to “Long list of lawyers lining up for Kitsap County Superior Court seats”

  1. John "voter" Doe Says:

    One thing I have learned is that judges are nothing but over glorified “lawyers”
    I have also learned that K.C Superior court is a gated community and the judge doesn’t like it when a mere citizen shows up with out one of her own peers, an attorney.
    I know of one particular K.C. Superior court judge that went out of her way to protect and defend a fellow “judge” even though that “judge” did not have an oath of office, is not appointed by the presiding BMC judge and is not a member of the WA BAR club as required by LAW.
    Instead of being recalled or at least reprimanded, this K.C superior judge will be promoted to presiding judge of K.C superior court.
    I filed a formal complaint but so far have been stonewalled, ignored and the matter completely pushed under the rug.
    This was all over a minor infraction that I was not guilty of.
    I have completely lost all trust in the judicial system and my respect for judges forever broken, thanks to K.C judges and attorneys.

  2. marvin Says:

    I suggest you take the herd name from crows, as in “a murder of lawyers.”

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