Washington Judicial Candidates General Election Review 2010

This is an update from the Primary Election review (15 July 2010). We have not made changes, except to cancel-out settled elections from the primary and updated information submitted to us.

Not all the Cominus’ picks have solid credentials. Some are lesser of evils. 5 stars means the candidate is at least 90% solid; 4 stars, at least 80%; 3 stars, at least 70%; 2 stars, at least 50%; 1 star is less than 50% but better than the opponent. If we are not sure, but the candidate is favored over the other evil, we will guesstimate a 2 or 3 star rating. Hope this is helpful.


Richard Sanders is the champion of liberty on the high court. In the days when Judicial Forum was reviewing cases and rating them, his percentage of PASS was 93% for 57 cases reviewed. He is libertarian and pro-life.

One of his most popular quotes is, “Appropriate constitutional analysis begins with the text and, for most purposes, should end there as well.” [Malyon v. Pierce County] In Island County vs. State, Justice Sanders wrote, “While the majority may justly claim the Legislature speaks for the people,’ it is the [C]onstitution, and only the [C]onstitution, through which the people speak for themselves. Their voice is fundamental, and it is only by their consent that we are governed.” A vote for Richard Sanders is a vote for our State and Federal constitutions and a vote for liberty.

Richard Sanders’ website is http://friendsofjustice.com

Running against Sanders is the notoriously liberal Charlie Wiggins. He is a former appellate court judge. He claims to have “helped to establish the nonpartisan award-winning web site votingforjudges.org.” Voteforjudges.org purports to be a non-partisan, non-biased endeavor and they give no endorsements to candidates, however, the only outside information and analysis they do include are from liberal newspapers and other liberal organizations; of course, favoring liberal candidates. Call it what it is – it is a liberal website disguised as centrist and educational.

He claims to be active in his Presbyterian church and is also proud of his high rating from Q Law, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender bar association. In Harland Maylon v Pierce County, he ruled against allowing voluntary chaplains in police and fire departments. Fortunately, he was overturned by the Supreme Court. His legal foundation and his religious foundation are worlds apart.

UPDATE: Mr Wiggins recently emailed me trying to convince me of his Christian credentials. His rationale for distorting the law and the Constitution is based on his conviction to do what Jesus did – feed the poor, heal the sick, etc. However, he could not demonstrate Scriptural support nor reconcile how subverting the law would meet those ends. I reminded him that Christ condemned the Pharisees and lawyers for twisting the law while posturing themselves as helping the poor and needy.

Regarding Harland: he claimed he was hemmed in by the Constitution for deciding against volunteer chaplains in police and fire departments. I responded that is what fascinates me about Justice Sanders – he thinks the Constitution has meaning of its own without the assistance of revision by those who would neuter it. Wiggins favors a neutered evolution of the Constitution.

FINALLY: Because we reported he was rated highly by Q Law, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender bar association, he took this information down from his website. He also claimed they gave him the lowest rating and that is the only reason he posted it to his website – to show they gave him the lowest rating. He will make quite a judge: he can spin why he wore their endorsement and he can spin how a high rating becomes the lowest rating. Regardless all the public good deeds he does, he demonstrates this: he is not an honest man. That is bad character for a judge.

ADDENDUM: Richard Sanders is pro-life while Charlie Wiggins is endorsed and supported by abortions rights groups.

Charlie Wiggins’ website is http://charliewigginsforjustice.com


Dennis McCurdy has been a King County Deputy Prosecutor for seventeen years, now a Senior Deputy Prosecutor.

His website is http://mccurdy4judge.com

Marcine Anderson is running against him to keep her seat. She is a former King County Deputy Prosecutor. She was appointed by Metropolitan King County Council, on 22 February, so she could run as an incumbent. She has affiliations with minority organizations and capitalizes on her Asian descent. She is endorsed by liberal judges and rated highly by Q Law, the Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender bar association.

Her website is http://marcineanderson.com


John O’Brien has been an attorney since 1981. He is endorsed by the moderately liberal Citizens for Judicial Excellence.

“O’Brien endorses the philosophy that the District Court upholds the current law and holds individuals accountable for their actions. He has seen the glow of pride in a defendant who has successfully completed a probationary counseling program, but has also sentenced defendants to maximum confinement for failed efforts at personal reform.” – as told to Citizens for Judicial Excellence

John’s business website is http://obrienlawfirm.net/team_jobrien.html

Michael Finkle was appointed to the bench on 22 February so he could run as an incumbent. He, also, has been an attorney since 1981. He has worked on the Seattle-King County Racial Disparity Work Group and is endorsed by liberal judges, officials and Democratic Party organizations. He is rated well to exceptionally well by King County Bar Association, the minority bars and Q Law, the Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender bar association.

Finkle’s website is http://retainjudgefinkle.com


Susan Mahoney is an Assistant Des Moines City Attorney, Judge Pro Tem and former prosecutor. She is endorsed by Democrats and liberals.

Her website is http://mahoneyforjudge.com

Judith Eiler is the incumbent and has served on various courts since 1992. Prior to being elected to the bench Judge Eiler practiced law in Federal Way for 12 years. She is known to be “rude, impatient, undignified and intimidating treatment” of attorneys and people representing themselves.

We could not locate a website for this candidate.


Darrell Phillipson has spent twenty-seven years on the bench. He is involved at his Lutheran church and endorsed by Democrats and liberal judges.

Phillipson’s website is http://darrellphillipson.com

His opponent is David Meyer, who has been practicing law for twenty-five years. He is endorsed by Democratic Party organizations and the SEIU. He is rated well to exceptionally well by King County Bar Association, the minority bars and Q Law (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender).

David Meyer’s website is http://davidmeyerforjudge.com


David Tracy has been a Municipal Court Judge for six years and served three years as a District Court Magistrate. He has thirty years legal experience. He is the Dean of Washington State Judicial College. Although he is a member of Diversity Task Force for Kent School District, he is also a volunteer at Second Harvest. David is endorsed by liberal judges and Democratic Party organizations.

His website is http://electdavidtracyjudge.com

His opponent is Matt Williams, who has twenty-seven years experience as an attorney, prosecutor, defense attorney and arbitrator. He is a program director for National Institute for Trial Advocacy, which means he gets paid while advancing his skills (rather than having to pay for the instruction). He states his reason for running is, “I want to give back to the community in which my wife and I raised our daughters by keeping our neighbors and our community safe.” That said from a man who does little without remuneration. He, also, is endorsed by liberal judges and Democratic Party organizations.

Matt’s website is http://electmattwilliams.com


Larry Mitchell has spent the last sixteen years as the City of Redmond Prosecuting Attorney. He is endorsed by King County Democrats and highly rated by the King County Bar Association and Washington Women Lawyers.

His website is http://electlarrymitchelljudge.com

Donna Tucker is rated well to exceptionally well by King County Bar Association, the minority bar associations and Q Law, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender bar association.

Her website is http://donnatuckerforjudge.com

UPDATE: Although we think Larry Mitchell to be a better candidate for this position, we have demoted him from a 2 star to a 1 star. This is his response when asked “Do hold the view of the constitution as being a living document or do you believe it should be interpreted in light of the original intent of the authors or something in between.” His answer: “As a judicial candidate I am very limited in what I can say about my views with respect to legal matters that I may have to decide if I am elected judge. For that reason I cannot reply to your inquiry other than to say I will give careful and fair consideration to any constitutional issue that might come before me.” Another liberal candidate hiding behind a non-existent code of Judicial Conduct. Sorry, folks, you have a choice between a liberal and a more-liberal. God save our nation.


Kevin McCann is a Pierce County Deputy Prosecutor. He has raised almost as much money as Sussman with limited personal funds and loans. He is running because, “Pierce County has suffered too many embarrassments by public officials whose behavior has resulted in admonishments, a loss of the public’s faith and even criminal charges” True – this seems to be a decades old, perennial problem. He is endorsed by Democratic Party organizations and unions.

Kevin’s website is http://electkevinmccann.com

Claire Sussman has raised the most money in this race, but that includes over thirty thousand dollars of her own money. That has to be worrisome when someone is willing to buy the office. Formerly, she spent six years as a prosecutor in the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office and seven years as a pro-tempore judge. She is endorsed by Democratic Party organizations as well as Brian Sonntag and Rob McKenna.

Claire’s website is http://clairesussmanforjudge.org

Karl Williams is the former president and vice president Pierce County Minority Bar Association. He spent the last twenty years practicing law; fourteen years as a pro-tem judge. Aside from working to further minority interests, we know very little about Karl. He appears to have the energy for the position but we think it will be tainted by his minority pursuits as opposed to his interest in law.

Karl’s website is http://karlwilliamsforjudge.com

Finally, Lance Hester has his own private practice, the Hester Law Group. He volunteers with Young Life and Chapel Hill Church. However, he takes no stand on any issue and a perusal of cases seems to indicate that most his clients are cop killers, wife beaters and rapists. Sorry if I got this wrong.

Lance’s website is http://electlancehester.com


Ed McKenna has spent more than twenty years as an Assistant City Attorney for Seattle; now as a Senior Assistant. He is endorsed by Democratic Party organizations. He is running because, “In the 2010 King County Bar Association survey, [the incumbent, Edsonya] Charles ranked last – 47 of 47 judges rated.  She received lowest ratings in the Demeanor, Temperament, and Communication category, which includes being attentive to court proceedings, treating people with courtesy and respect, acting with patience and self-control and using clear oral communications. It’s time for new leadership on the Municipal Court.”

Ed’s website is http://edmckennaforjudge.com

Edsonya Charles is the incumbent and has been a Seattle Municipal Court Judge since 2004, appointed by the very liberal Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. She was formerly a deputy legal council to Seattle Mayor Nichols and his senior policy advisor on public safety. Before that, she was a federal prosecutor specializing in fraud cases. She states, “My proudest achievements including receiving the United States Department of Justice Special Achievement Award and twice receiving Al Gore’s Government Reinvention Hammer Award for my work in prosecuting criminals who lied and stole from working people.”

Her website is http://reelectjudgeedsonyacharles.com but it is not active.


Karen Donohue has twenty-five years in private practice. She has been general counsel to an international telecommunications firm, assistant city attorney and judge pro tem for the past 16 years. She is endorsed by Democratic Party organizations. She states the reason she is running is because, “Judge Michael Hurtado, received average ratings of ‘acceptable.’ His legal decision making skills were rated between ‘poor’ and ‘acceptable.’ In addition, Judge Hurtado has been admonished twice by the commission on judicial conduct, most recently for failing to treat attorneys with patience, courtesy and dignity.”

Her website is http://karendonohueforjudge.com

Michael Salvador Hurtado has been twice disciplined by the Commission on Judicial Conduct. In both cases, the facts were agreed upon by all parties.

CJC No. 3790-F-100 (October 4, 2002) Receiving and acting upon improper ex parte (one side of the case) communications while serving as a judge pro tempore of the Des Moines Municipal Court. Judge Hurtado received ex parte information from one of the parties’ counsel and witness, and acted on it without hearing from the other side, vacating the order entered earlier. This is no small travesty and the Commission only admonished the judge.

CJC No. 5775-F-141 (December 5, 2008) He failed to treat two different attorneys with patience, dignity and courtesy. As soon as the Commission brought this matter to Respondent’s attention, he openly acknowledged the acts occurred and recognized their impropriety. The Commission admonished the judge.

To his credit, he has received numerous community service awards.

We could not find a website for this candidate.


Timothy Note is a criminal defense attorney with seven years experience. [Update 16 July] “I own my own law office and am running on a work ethic platform.  District Court Judges make $141,700 plus benefits, they owe it to the people they serve to show up as required for work and put in a full day when they get there. Beyond that they need to treat all parties with dignity and fairness without prejudging individuals or cases.  I will do that. Unlike the the current bench, I vow to make my attendance record a matter of public record, that way the the public will know they are getting what they are paying for.  I am widely endorsed by the people who actually practice law in Spokane County as well by David Stevens and Frank Malone, candidates for Spokane County Prosecutor.  I think this shows that I have support from both sides of the ideological spectrum. I believe that District Court should be where Rising Stars in the legal community go to hone their judicial chops in preparation for greater service, rather than operating as a pasture where mediocre attorneys wait out their retirement at public expense.”

His website is http://noteforjudge.com

Debra Hayes is the incumbent and a former deputy prosecutor. However, she lacks focus on the law. On her Facebook fan page she posted several Spokane Review news stories of various crimes – cases in her court, giving the impression she had determined the guilt or innocence based upon the story. She demonstrates lack of discretion by posting the articles of interest; these are not her adventures, she is responsible to judge these cases on their merits, not the drama. Furthermore, two years ago, her son was arrested on drug charges. Maybe her fault, maybe not; we will give her the benefit of the doubt as kids from good homes sometimes go bad.

We could not find a website for this candidate.


You gotta love this guy, Glen Warren. He describes himself as a “lifelong taxpaying resident of Yakima county.” He has over thirty-two years of experience in criminal, traffic, civil, and other cases. He is a member of Grandview Christian Church and an “advocate of 2nd Amendment rights” He is endorsed by scores of businessmen and police. “Glen’s decades of experience, local Christian values, and upbringing will contribute to his responsible running of this office funded with taxpayer money.”

Glen’s website is http://warrenforjudge.com

Brian Sanderson is running for this position also. He has been a Selah Municipal Court Judge since 2004 and was a former Washington State Assistant Attorney General. He has all the establishment endorsements.

Brian’s website is http://sandersonforjudge.com


Donald Engel is the incumbent and appears to be an acceptable judge.

We could not find a website for this candidate.

Steve Keller is opposing him and has twenty-eight years experience as a deputy prosecuting attorney.

Steve’s website is http://stevenrkeller.com


Michael L Everett was our second choice in the primary and has moved up to our number one spot for the general election. He has been practicing law since 1974 including six years judge at Wapato District Court. He is an unhappy looking fellow but very patriotic. Regarding his previous stint on the bench, he states, “During my time on the bench I never lost sight of the fact that each individual who came before me was a person worthy of respect who deserves to be heard and that the community deserved everyone be held accountable for their actions”

Michael’s website is http://everettforjudge.com

Doug Federspiel is the hands-on establishment favorite. But that is disturbing, because he appears to be the most liberal in a conservative area. He has been practicing law since 1989. He has done some mountain climbing and at age thirty-five took a month long trip in the Himalayas. In liberal fashion, he has a feel-good vision, “Make sure everybody feels like they’ve had their day in court, that they know the judge listened to their arguments and worked hard. That’s what people expect from somebody on the bench.” When I go to court, I want to know justice was administered according to the law – not feel like I had my day in court. If we are going to “make sure everybody feels like they had their day in court,” what do we do with the losers?

His website is http://dougfederspiel.com

This is the end of the report. I hope you find it helpful and useful. Feel free to pass this on with credit back to the source.

– cominus

About the author: cominus

Cominus is the pen-name for Dean Isaacson. He was chairman of the Snohomish County Republican Central Committee (Washington) 1990 to 1992. He conducted legal research for the late Supreme Court Justice William C. Goodloe for several years and led Judicial Forum for many years. Now, he is a crazy kinda guy who spends most his time doing cold calls. He plays his harmonica in the truck because people don't want to listen to him practice - but his dog, Miles (black dachshund), loves to sing along. He is passionate about being passionate because everyone is really into passionate these days but tires easily and hides behind emails. His core belief is you will choose to serve God or you will serve the state - tyrants, as William Penn called it.

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One Comment

  1. Ken
    Posted 25 Oct 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Dean for your dedication and fight for freedom!
    I have my ballet done and all 4 voters in this house hold will be mailing in for a push for changes. Go Koster! I pray that we can defeat the liberal agenda in Olympia. That would send a message to Washington State!

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