King County voters should elect Helen Halpert to another term as Superior Court judge in Position 31.

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KING County voters have a clear choice in the race for Superior Court judge Position 31.

Incumbent Helen Halpert should be elected to another term in the position she has held since her appointment by then-Gov. Gary Locke in 1999. Before that, Halpert served as a Seattle Municipal Court judge for a decade.

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Helen Halpert

Helen Halpert

Superior Court Position 31

Strengths: Demonstrated leadership during her extensive career; an extensive list of endorsements

Halpert has demonstrated leadership during her extensive career. She served terms as a chief criminal and juvenile judge, on the court’s executive committee and co-chaired task forces, such as one that reformed juvenile sentencing. ..."

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Earlier in her career, Halpert was a public defender and taught at the University of Washington and University of Puget Sound law schools.

Halpert has demonstrated leadership during her extensive career. She served terms as a chief criminal and juvenile judge, on the court’s executive committee and co-chairing the state Becca Task Force, and was a member of the state juvenile sentencing reform task force.

An extensive list of state Supreme Court, appeals court and trial court judges endorsed Halpert, and the King County Bar Association rated her “exceptionally well qualified.”

Challenger Marc Stern is an independent Seattle lawyer with a specialty in bankruptcy. During his 38-year career, Stern has not served as a judge. He decided to run after his experience in a trial before Halpert.

That trial did not end well for Stern. Halpert sanctioned Stern, another lawyer and their client under rules allowing sanctions for baseless pleadings. The sanctions were upheld in March by the state Court of Appeals.

Stern was ranked “qualified” for the job by the county bar association.

Newcomers are welcome, especially in judicial races dominated by incumbents and nominees. Stern offers suggestions about improving Superior Court operations, such as fully embracing an electronic-filing system like the one used by the federal bankruptcy court.

Even so, Halpert is the superior choice for Position 31.

Information in this editorial, originally published Sept. 28, 2016, was corrected Sept. 30, 2016. A previous version of this editorial incorrectly stated that Helen Halpert was co-chair of a state juvenile sentencing reform task force.