Judge Chris Washington should be re-elected to the King County Superior Court.
The Times’ recommendation is changed from the primary election, in which we endorsed a challenger, Suzanne Parisien, a former state assistant attorney general. Parisien has since turned down the King County Bar Association’s request to appear at a public forum with Judge Washington. She has declined to be rated by the associations representing African American, Latino, gay, female and Jewish attorneys. She has few endorsements and has raised almost no money, seemingly coasting on primary endorsements from The Times and The Stranger.
The Times’ declined to endorse Washington earlier mainly because of a King County Bar Association poll of attorneys who rated him the lowest of 52 judges. But professor David Brody of Washington State University, who was the association’s consultant on the poll, showed that the score was low because 20 prosecutors manipulated it. The prosecutors were angry with Judge Washington for letting off a juvenile criminal on a light sentence. They rated him low on all 16 questions, most of which had nothing do with their complaint against him. They were trying to sink him.
We agree with the prosecutors about that case, in which Washington let off a 17-year-old who kicked Seattle Police Officer Jason McKissack in the head. Thirty days was too light a sentence. But we have been assured by an outpouring of judges and attorneys that Washington is a good judge and that it is unfair to cashier him for a handful of errors in hundreds of rulings.
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It is also a risk to put the robe of the Superior Court on a person who has never been a judge and who shies from the scrutiny of the legal profession.