Monday, June 16, 2008

The Mysterious World of Electing Judges

In Whatcom County, we have one contested race for Whatcom County Superior Court, Position 3.

This election will be decided during the Primary Election scheduled for August 19, 2008.

Why are Judicial Elections important?

Voting for tells us, "Judges make decisions about fundamental issues that affect all of us — family life, education, health care, housing, employment, discrimination, civil rights, public safety — and those decisions can have long-lasting impact. It is critical that our judges make fair decisions based upon open-minded and unbiased consideration of the facts and the law in each case. Judges must know the law, be independent, and be free from external political and economic influences. Voting for qualified judges really does protect the courts."

What criteria should we be looking for when voting for judges?

A 2003 report issued by the American Bar Association lists eight principles for electing judges.

Judges should uphold the rule of law.
· Judges should be independent.
· Judges should be impartial.
· Judges should possess the appropriate temperament and character.
· Judges should possess the appropriate capabilities and credentials.
· Judges and the judiciary should have the confidence of the public.
· The judicial system should be racially diverse and reflective of the society it serves.

Meet the Candidates: (listed alphabetically)

Douglas R. Shepherd, of Shepherd, Abbott and Carter, brings 28 years of trial and litigation experience representing people in Whatcom County, Washington State and federal courts. He is also admitted to practice in front of the Washington State Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Doug lives in Bellingham with his wife, Judith Tim. Judith was named Conservation teacher of the year in 1990 by the state of Washington and as one of Whatcom County’s "Super Women" by the Bellingham Weekly in 2005. His daughter, Heather is coordinating his campaign.

Doug has been active in many local and statewide organizations during the last 30 years. He is the former President of the Whatcom County Bar Association. In addition, Doug flew 149 missions with Attack Squadron 196 off of the U.S.S. Enterprise during the Vietnam war. after the war, he taught flight for A-6 Intruder pilots at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

For more information about this candidate, and a statement on the issues, please visit his website at

Charles R. Snyder is the incumbent Judge, Position 3, Whatcom County Superior Court. Here is Charles Snyder's campaign website

Charles Snyder was elected to the Superior Court in 2004, after serving as a superior court commissioner for 15 years. Prior to his selection as commissioner, he was the Whatcom County hearing examiner. He practiced law in Bellingham from 1980 until his appointment as commissioner.

Two candidate forums are scheduled -please take advantage of the opportunity to meet the candidates so that you are prepared to make an informed decision about who should serve on the bench on August 19th.

Friday, June 27th, 5:30pm-7:30pm: Meet the candidate and questions forum. Bellingham Public Library Lecture Room. Beverages and food provided.

Wednesday, July 2nd, 7:00pm-9:00pm: Meet the candidate and questions forum. Bloedel Donovan Park Multi Purpose Room. Beverages and food provided.

*Correction: Doug Shepherd is the former president of the Whatcom Bar Association. The current President is Steve Chance, Katy Esp is the Vice President/President elect.

No comments:

Post a Comment