Only one contested King County District Court judicial race is on the Nov. 8 general election ballot this year. For Northeast Division, Judge Position No. 6, voters should select incumbent Judge Michael Finkle.

The District Court is responsible for civil litigation up to $100,000 per claimant, small claims matters up to $10,000, vehicle tow and impound hearings, garnishments, domestic violence protection orders, and misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor criminal cases, among other matters.

Judges also handle Mental Health Court, Veterans Court, Youth Court and Community Court.

Finkle has been a District Court judge since he was appointed by the Metropolitan King County Council in 2010. Before that, he served in the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.

At the District Court’s Issaquah Courthouse, Finkle handles primarily civil matters and East King County Regional Youth Traffic Court. In addition to previously serving as a criminal trial judge, Finkle has presided over the District Court’s Regional Mental Health Court and Regional Veterans Court.

Finkle’s priorities include advocating for a legislative change from the term “incompetency” to “ability to proceed” in hearings. He also wants to see the Legislature take up a cap on interest rates debtors must pay creditors.


“It’s downright criminal except that it’s legal,” Finkle told the editorial board. “I would love to get some legislation there that limits that. Right now, I see 29.9% interest on some of the garnishments.”

Finkle was rated “Exceptionally well qualified” by the King County Bar Association.

His opponent, Joshua Schaer, is an attorney with the state Office of the Attorney General and former Issaquah City Council member. Schaer, who ran unsuccessfully for District Court in 2018, boasts his youthful energy and commitment to tackle case backlogs. He appears earnest but does not make the case to turn Finkle out.

Finkle has the right temperament and experience for the job. Voters should retain him as District Court judge.