Press Editorial

October 12, 2010

By Staff

Tucker, O’Brien for District Court judges

Few voters know just who to vote for when it comes to judicial candidates on their ballot. The closer to home, the more important the vote is — these are the judges you may very well meet for traffic tickets to misdemeanors.

The ballots this year include four choices for two District Court positions in the Northeast Division. Both of our recommended choices — Donna Tucker and John O’Brien — are preferred for the diversity of experience they bring to the job.

Tucker and Larry Mitchell are vying for Position 7.

Tucker’s broad experience is a huge bonus. While Mitchell has been the city prosecutor in Redmond for the past 16 years, Tucker has owned her own business, and has provided public defender services, in addition to serving as a pro-tem, or substitute, judge.

Her background translates into an understanding of the people who come into her courtroom. She is noted for seeing the good qualities in defendants and handing down creative sentences aimed at helping change behavior patterns for the positive. She also has a record of community involvement, from senior services and softball coach to a teacher of other attorneys.

For Position 6, we recommend O’Brien over Michael Finkle.

Finkle was appointed to the seat earlier this year, and is one of the few judges in King County considered an expert on mental health issues. But O’Brien has 15 years experience on the bench as a pro-tem judge and brings many of the same traits and experience we admire in Tucker — business owner (managing partner of his Issaquah law firm and co-owner of two private schools), community leader (president of the Issaquah Valley Grange and Issaquah Rotary Club and board member of the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce), prosecuting attorney for nine years and court arbitrator for 23 years.

Most notably in the District Court’s Issaquah courthouse, judges in recent years have been chastised for questionable ethics and temperament.

We look to Tucker and O’Brien to help return respectability to the Northeast Division of King County’s District Court system.

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One Response to “Press Editorial”

  1. Michael Finkle on October 19th, 2010 12:24 pm

    I am Judge Michael Finkle, a King County District Court Judge in Northeast Electoral District Position 6. I was appointed judge by unanimous vote of the King County Council on February 22nd of this year.

    Unfortunately, I have not had an opportunity to speak with your editorial staff. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you and to your readers.

    During the 20 years preceding my appointment I served as a supervising prosecutor for the Seattle City Attorney’s Office. The last 14 years I also served as a Judge Pro Tempore (substitute Judge) in King County District and various Municipal Courts. Prior to moving to Washington State I spent four years as a prosecutor in Los Angeles.

    My management experience includes creating new programs to improve the criminal justice system. For example, I helped form Seattle’s Mental Health Court, which was the fourth such court in the country; there are currently more than 200. I also helped create the Domestic Violence Unit within the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.

    A significant portion of my managerial duties also included working with judges, defense attorneys, probation, court staff and jail staff to increase efficiency within the court system. I also worked with budgetary issues related to the criminal justice system, including my office and the courts.

    I have served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law since 1998. In addition, I served as one of the initial faculty for the State Bar’s Trial Advocacy Program. I received a special recognition award from the State Bar for my 10 years of work with that program. All in all, I have taught legal skills to over 440 law students and attorneys over the past 20 years.

    In terms of community service, I served on the committee that helped incorporate the City of Sammamish. I have also participated in Beat the Bridge to Beat Juvenile Diabetes, helped build a ramp for a physically disabled woman to enter and leave her home of 60 years, visited retirement homes and church groups to educate them about the judicial system, and traveled about the state and country (often on my own time or with my own money) to talk about criminal justice issues.

    I have lived in the same house in Sammamish for the past 20 years. I am proud to be your Judge.


    Judge Michael Finkle
    King County District Court
    Northeast Electoral District
    Position 6

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