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Friday, September 10, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
The Times endorses
Four open seats on King County Superior Court may be decided Tuesday. If one candidate receives more than half the primary vote, and there is no write-in campaign, that candidate is elected.
This editorial page endorses Theresa Doyle, Andrea Darvas, Mark Mestel and Jim Rogers. For Position 13, Theresa Doyle, a judge in the Mental Health Court of the Seattle Municipal Court, faces David Larson, who handles business and personal-injury cases. Each is rated "well qualified" by the King County Bar Association. Doyle was also a public defender, which gives her experience in jury trials in addition to her work on the bench. A Paul Schell appointee, Doyle has a long list of endorsers, including the Democratic Party, while Larson is endorsed by the Republicans. On the most partisan issue of the day, same-sex marriage, Doyle believes it is a human right and Larson says it is disallowed by precedent. For her demeanor, thoughtfulness and experience, we prefer Doyle.
For Position 23, private attorney Andrea Darvas faces Parole Board member and Judge Pro Tem Julia Garratt and public defender Eric Weston. In interviews, Weston focused on the psychology of defendants, Garratt on proper procedure and Darvas on fairness. Either Garratt or Darvas would be a fine choice both are rated "well qualified" by the bar but Darvas gets the nod for her engaged manner and her determination not to let lawyers play games in her courtroom.
For Position 42, private criminal-defense attorney Mark Mestel faces Catherine Moore, a King County family law commissioner pro tem, and Chris Washington, who does criminal and civil work. Moore is outgunned here, and she earned an "adequate" rating from the bar. Washington ("well qualified") has raised most of the money in the race more than $50,000 and is endorsed by Gov. Gary Locke and former Gov. John Spellman. Mestel has spent next to nothing and has all his experience in one area of the law, yet he earns the highest bar rating ("exceptionally well qualified"). He has presence, clarity and a deep knowledge of high-stakes criminal cases. He would make a fine judge.
For Position 45, King County homicide prosecutor Jim Rogers faces Kimberley Prochnau, a court commissioner for juvenile cases. She is rated by the bar as "well qualified," and he as "exceptionally well qualified." Prochnau's experience is in judging short, nonjury trials on matters such as guardianships and juvenile felonies. Rogers gets the endorsement for his work in jury trials involving struggles over the admissibility of evidence, experts and the insanity defense. He also has five years of background in business law. He is the only candidate of these races to have raised more than $100,000, and he has a long string of endorsements, including the King County Democratic Central Committee and the King County Republican Party.
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