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Washington Supreme Court Justice Position 3

The Washington Supreme Court is the head of the judicial branch of state government, co-equal with the legislative and executive branches, and it is the state court of last resort. It consists of nine justices serving six-year terms, with three justices being chosen by the voters from a nonpartisan judicial ballot at the general election in November of each even-numbered year. The goal of the Supreme Court is to provide for the prompt and orderly administration of justice by the judiciary and to announce the law on issues brought before it. The Court determines cases, publishes opinions, adopts rules of procedure, provides continuing guidance for the admission and supervision of the members of the Bar, and conducts a continuous program of training and guidance for the judiciary.

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    Dave Larson
    (NP)

  • Raquel Montoya-Lewis
    (NP)

Biographical Information

What experiences have best prepared you for the Supreme Court?

What are the most important issues facing appellate judges?

What could be done to ensure prompt and timely decisions from the court?

What could the Supreme Court do to educate the public about the rule of law and the role lawyers and judges play in our justice system?

How can a judge insure that persons without lawyers are provided the same access to justice as persons who are represented by counsel?

What is your view on the judge’s role in strengthening both the reality and perception of equal justice for persons of all ethnic backgrounds?

How can the court avoid the perception that decisions are based on partisan positions?

Experience (Max 500 characters) Judge Larson has a long record of accomplishment as a trial lawyer, mediator, arbitrator, and as a judge. He tried cases in state and federal courts for twenty-three years before becoming a judge twelve years ago. He is highly regarded as an innovator and problem solver. He is heavily involved in his community including Kiwanis, as a guardian for veterans on Puget Sound Honor Flight, and founder of the Aktion Club of Federal Way, a Kiwanis service club for adults with developmental disabilities.
Campaign Phone (253) 344-4716
Town where you live Federal Way
I have significant legal experience (35 years) as a trial judge, as a trial lawyer, and in managing a trial court. I will better understand the impacts on the people & communities we serve when the Supreme Court makes legal decisions as well as when the Court makes decisions on court rules and the administration of justice. This “in the trenches” experience gives me an advantage when addressing needed reforms. Reform is not just talk for me; I have developed actual plans for reform. I have the proven ability to work closely with the legislature and stakeholders. This skill is needed as we navigate needed reforms. I am a member of the Board of Judicial Administration Public Trust & Confidence Committee and a member of the District & Municipal Court Judges Association Legislative and Therapeutic Courts Committees. Former member of the Council on Independent Courts, Court Rules, Education, Technology, and Long-Range Planning Committees. I've taught judges at Judicial College for10 years.
Appellate judges play an important role in instilling public trust and confidence in the justice system. First, trust and confidence from the parties, lawyers, and judges affected by the decisions made. Second, trust and confidence from the public at large. More and more issues that come before the appellate courts are politicized by various interest groups with a stake in the outcome. Appellate judges must strictly adhere to the law as it is written and must be clear in their written opinions to buffer against the politics surrounding decisions. Appellate judges must also get off the bench and reach out to the public at large to earn trust and confidence. The Supreme Court, as our highest court, needs to be more active in reforms that address the crisis in our communities caused by the impacts of addiction, untreated mental illness, and homelessness. The Court must also take a more active leadership role in addressing the lack of trust and confidence by the Black Community.
As a justice, I would set self-imposed deadlines for decisions that I am responsible for writing so that I could timely produce the opinions for my colleagues to review and approve.
Judges need to get off the bench as much as possible to teach the public about the rule of law and the role lawyers and judges play in our justice system . I received the Washington Judge’s Foundation Judge William Nevins Award in 2014 for my “long-term commitment to youth education and public understanding of the law and the role of the judiciary in American society.” I am also the Southwest Washington coordinator for Judges in the Classroom, helped teach high school civics for 10 years, founded and hosted the South King County YMCA High School Mock Trial competition, and I am a board member on the Civic Learning Council, a group committed to public legal education. I was also recognized as a “Hero” of Federal Way Public Schools in 2018.
I would work to reinstate the Limited License Legal Technician program that my opponent voted to terminate. The LLLT program provided low cost legal services by certified paraprofessionals that helped people with routine legal issues. In addition, we need to simplify court rules and procedures for cases involving common disputes landlord tenant disputes and consumer disputes. Finally, low cost conflict resolution needs to be available in communities.
The judge’s role is to always deliver on the reality and perception of equal justice for all regardless of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. I believe that “procedural fairness” is essential and fundamental to all that we do as judges. People that feel the effects of inequities in the system are done with symbolic gestures and want to see real change. I am in favor of real change that uses restorative justice first to address issues at their root cause. We need to focus on early intervention with first time offenders to get them on track before they get out of control in ways that adversely affect local communities. We also need to better address how cases involving repeat offenders are handled in our courts.
The best way to earn the trust and confidence of the full spectrum of ALL inhabitants of the State of Washington is to follow the law and constitution as it is written and to not substitute your personal opinions for the law and constitution. Decisions are trusted by the public as non-political if the decisions make sense and if the decisions are fair.
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