Superior Court Judge candidates answer questions from The Marysville Globe and The Arlington Times
By KIRK BOXLEITNER
Arlington Times Reporter
October 7, 2009 · Updated 1:30 PM
The Marysville Globe and The Arlington Times sent three questions to each of the candidates running for Snohomish County Superior Court Judge.
Judge Position 2
Joseph Wilson, David Hulbert, Rico Tessandore, Scott Peterson and Scott Lord are all running against each other for Position 2.
1. What qualifications do you bring to the bench?
Wilson: I have 16 years of diverse legal experience, and serve as a judge pro tem and hearing officer. As a lawyer, I handle criminal law, family law, real estate law, contract law, personal injury law, probate law and all matters that come before the court. I have cases in federal court, the court of appeals and won two times in the Supreme Court. I am known as fair but firm in my decisions and am honored to have the endorsement of most of the Snohomish County judges.
Hulbert: I believe that my qualifications are best summed up in one word — experience. I am the only candidate who has served as a real judge. In addition to 12 years on the bench, I have 30 years total legal experience. I have presided over literally thousands of legal matters. I have more relevant experience than all of the other four candidates combined! I am ready to go to work for the people on Day One. While each of my opponents will need extensive on the job training, I will not. There is no substitute for experience.
Tessandore: I am the only candidate that is currently an acting judge pro tem in both Snohomish County Superior and District courts. I am also an arbitrator in Snohomish, King and Skagit counties. These roles require listening carefully to both sides and rendering decisions, the essence of judging. My experience spans both criminal and civil practice — two years as Superior Court law clerk, five years as a prosecutor and the last four years as a civil litigator. I have tried over 180 cases to verdict, the most of any candidate. My peers elected me as president of the County Bar Association, which demonstrates my reputation for fairness and integrity.
Peterson: I have been an attorney for 16 years. I practice in district, superior, appellate and federal courts. Most importantly, I have appealed 10 Snohomish County cases and obtained remands and reversals in nine of those 10 appeals. These cases involve our courts wrongfully interpreting state statutes or failing to protect our Constitutional rights. When the Court of Appeals endorses my legal and Constitutional views it supports my overall legal analysis of issues before the Superior Court. As a judge I will be able to use my proven abilities to analyze the legal issues so that appellate review is unnecessary.
Lord: I have been an attorney for over 18 years. I was a Superior Court law clerk for one year, then I went into the Snohomish County Prosecutors Office for 13 years in the criminal division. During most of that time I worked as a deputy prosecutor in the felony division. I left in 2003 to go into private practice so that I could also sit as a pro tem judge and commissioner to gain practical experience. In 2007 I went back to the Prosecutors Office in the Family Support Division in order to learn something new and challenge myself further.
2. How would you describe your approach to this role?
Wilson: To be a good judge, I listen to both sides. I am thoughtful and apply the law in a fair manner which is faithful to the facts and to legal precedent. I have demonstrated as a judge pro tem that I run my courtroom with respect for all who come before me and that I use the experience of my long and varied legal work to arrive at just decisions. It is important for a judge to have extensive practical experience when seeking to decide cases and to act with impartiality and integrity. I have done this.
Hulbert: I would like to answer directly from my 12 years of actual experience as a Superior Court Judge. My approach was and always will be that I strive to defend the constitution and to enforce the law. The legislature makes the law. A good judge simply enforces the law justly and honestly. I gained a reputation for being firm yet fair. Unlike my opponents I don't need to engage in guesswork concerning how I will handle legal matters. I've already presided over thousands of legal issues and every possible kind of case that comes before the bench. There is no substitute for experience.
Tessandore: I will discharge my obligations with fairness, common sense, knowledge of the law and with respect for all parties before me. I will listen, read briefs thoroughly, consider arguments carefully and render fair decisions in a timely manner. I have done this as judge pro tem, and it is what I will do as Superior Court Judge. I believe that a judge should be open to continue learning from those who come before her or him. As a pro tem judge and an attorney, I am known for my integrity, my hard work and my judicial temperament.
Peterson: As a judge I will strive to make the right decisions without forcing the parties to appeal the decision. Our citizens must believe that our courts will make the correct decisions. The cost to the parties and society of a wrong decision is tremendous. Efficient use of judicial resources has always been important. In these tough economic times it is critical. We cannot waste our taxpayers' funds making wrong decisions. Our citizens continually express their frustration with the court commissioners. Judges appoint these commissioners. I understand these frustrations, and will seek changes in the court administration to address these concerns.
Lord: I approach this role like any other. I am hard working. I currently own my business in addition to working full time in the Prosecutors Office. I own a restaurant in Everett, The Majestic Café, which keeps my free time busy. Whenever I take on a new role or challenge I make sure that I am as prepared as possible. I am the first person in my family to go to college and I am continually trying to educate myself. Along with that I have a very strong working family background that has given me a very strong work ethic.
3. What do you believe it's most important for voters to know about this position and the candidates who run for it?
Wilson: The most important aspect of this position is to know that your judge will be fair and impartial in his or her decision making. Trial judges affect every aspect of life in this community, from criminal law to family law. It is critical that candidates have experience in all these areas and can demonstrate their impartiality. For this race, I am endorsed by the majority of Snohomish County judges, the Sheriff, firefighters, prosecutors, labor and leaders on both sides of the aisle, including the entire Snohomish County Council. They all believe that I have the most experience and that I will be fair and impartial.
Hulbert: The Superior Court is the most demanding and complicated judicial trial position in the state. Candidates for this position must know the law inside and out! This background requires many years to develop. It is no place for beginners. The very lives, property and freedom of the people are affected by the decisions made here. In a given month a judge may hear cases ranging from murder to adoptions and from divorce and custody to multi-million dollar civil claims. With 12 years as a sitting judge, I present the voters with more experience than all the other candidates combined. There is no substitute for experience.
Tessandore: I believe it is essential for voters to know all the candidates' backgrounds, in our professional and our personal lives, and in our communities. I am proud of the reputation I earned in our community as an ethical, hard-working and experienced attorney and judge pro tem. People who work closely with the court system know whom they want on the bench. I'm proud to be endorsed by our Snohomish County judges and many local attorneys. I'm also honored to have the support of law enforcement, including the Edmonds Police Officers Association, Snohomish County Deputy Sheriff Association, Prosecuting Attorney Union and Corrections Guild.
Peterson: Please look at my Web site to see the type of person that you are entrusting to make the decisions that will affect you and our fellow citizens. In all my appeals our citizens have been denied fair hearings and denied their Constitutional rights. As judge I will do everything within my power and abilities to make correct decisions and support our Constitutional and statutory rights. My Web site highlights many glaring examples of judicial mistakes affecting Snohomish County citizens. Our citizens deserve the best judges. Scott Peterson has proven he is the best and that he can make those right decisions.
Lord: It's important to know the following about judicial candidates: How long have they been an attorney? What is their background? What is their practical experience? What have they done outside the practice of law? Being a Superior Court Judge takes experience. Superior Court Judges do not make law, they hear the facts and apply the law as written and make a decision based on those facts. The most important role of a Superior Court Judge is to make sure that the law is followed by all the citizens of Snohomish County and that it is done impartially and fairly.Contact Arlington Times Reporter Kirk Boxleitner at email@example.com or 360-659-1300 Ext. 5052.