Letters to the Editor

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JUDGES: Bar ratings helpful at election time

Letter by Terry L. Smith, Tacoma on July 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm with 2 Comments »
July 2, 2012 1:11 pm

Thank you for printing the bar association judicial ratings accompanied with lawyer comments and judges’ responses. For many years, I have chosen not to vote for our judges because of lack of knowledge about their performance. All I had to go by were their statements in the voters pamphlets.

I recognize the information provided only will assist with voting on whether to re-elect incumbents. However, this is more information than I have had in the past.

I am saving the section you published for reference when marking future ballots. Thank you again for publishing this helpful article.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. olympicmtn says:

    Think for yourself. Don’t let the TNT and bar association tell you how to vote. Voters need to choose their judges and not the good o’l boy, slap your back, hang out at the YMCA attorneys!

  2. APimpNamedSlickback says:


    It’s obvious you don’t like anyone who sits on the bench or practices law; but surely you would have to admit that there are SOME good judges and lawyers, right?

    Votes cast in judicial elections are historically among the least informed. This is because the ethical rules for judges demands that they not go out and campaign on issues like other offices because they may be expected to hear a case in the future dealing with those issues. And while no one is entirely impartial, judges (and judicial candidates) are expected to maintain the appearance of complete impartiality. The difference between judges (and judicial candidates) and candidates for executive and legislative offices?.. Jurists are all professionals who have been trained to set aside their biases on the job.

    Now, no one is suggesting that you vote exactly as the TNT or a majority of the bar association tells you; they’re just suggesting that you take into consideration the opinions of attorneys. Not because they are better suited to make your voting decisions, but because they have more exposure to the bench than the average citizen, and unlike the average citizen, they have been trained to know how the law is supposed to be applied; thus, they would have greater insight into whether a judge is actually doing their job correctly. At the end of the day, though, your vote is yours.

    But let me ask you something: what’s your opinion of Dale Washam? Do you derive that opinion from your own personal interactions with him, from the TNT’s coverage of him, or from your personal experience being an elected county assessor-treasurer? Since I’m guessing your only opinion of him is based on one of these three things, don’t you think that maybe you could cast a slightly more informed vote on him if you got some feedback from someone who works with him directly, or from one of his peers in another county? Just a thought.

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