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Court of Appeals, Division No. 1, District No. 1 Judge Position No. 2

Most cases appealed from superior courts go directly to the Court of Appeals, though certain, specific types of cases go directly to the Supreme Court. The court decides each case after reviewing the transcript of the record in the superior court and considering the arguments of the parties. The Court is organized into 3 divisions with headquarters located in Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane, respectively. Each division is divided into three districts, with a specified number of judges, each elected to a six-year term.
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  • Nathan W. S. Choi (NP)

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    Michael S. Spearman (NP) Appellate Court Judge

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Biographical Information

Why did you decide to run for this position?

What are the major issues facing the appeals court today?

How could the court be made more efficient?

What in your background uniquely qualifies you for this position?

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Email retainjudgespearman2017@gmail.com
Town where you live Seattle, Washington
Experience (300 characters max) Appellate Court Judge (2010 - present); Mediator/Arbitrator (2007-2010); Superior Court Judge (1993-2007); Attorney in Private Practice (1986-88); Public Defender (1981-86; 1989-93)
I was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Christine Gregoire in 2010 following a 14 year career as a trial court judge on the King County Superior Court. I am running for re-election to this position.
The most pressing issues facing the appeals court are (1) lack of sufficient funds in the budget (2) access to justice for self-represented and low income litigants and (3) improving the timeliness of decisions particularly in cases involving families and children.
We must continue our efforts to obtain sufficient funding to update and improve our use of technology. We must improve litigants’ ability to access court files and file documents electronically, and improve the flow of documents within the court and between our court, the trial courts, and the Supreme Court. This should improve our ability to hear cases promptly and decide them more efficiently. We should keep fees to a minimum and those that are necessary should be based on the ability to pay. We should ensure that explanations on how to obtain fee waivers are readily available. We should also work to make our court free of legal jargon. Our court rules and opinions should be written so they are readily understandable to non-lawyers. We should continue to have a staff person available to answer questions by phone and in person. The COA has recently modified their calendars to expedite and prioritize the hearing of cases involving children and families.
I have been a lawyer for over 35 years and for nearly 25 of those years I have served in a judicial capacity. I served as a trial court judge in King County Superior Court for 14 years, as a professional mediator for 3 years and as an appellate judge for the last 7 years. Prior to taking the bench, I worked as an attorney in private practice and as a public defender. I have been dedicated to improving our judicial system and toward that end, I have served on the boards of many organizations, including the K.C. Bar Ass’n, the WA Sentencing Guidelines Comm'n, the Supreme Court Comm'n on Interpreters, Seadrunar and many others. I currently chair the Oversight Committee for the Office of Civil Legal Aid. I also served as the Independent Auditor for the Seattle Police Department acting in an oversight capacity on handling allegations of police misconduct. I have also worked to ensure diversity within our judiciary because our judges should reflect the communities in which they serve.

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