Issaquah attorney enters race for judge

July 6, 2010

Issaquah attorney John L. O’Brien plans to challenge appointed District Court Judge Michael Finkle in the race to be judge in the Northeast Division of King County District Court, candidate filing records show.

The division includes Issaquah, Sammamish, Bellevue, Redmond, Woodinville and parts of unincorporated King County.

Voters will cast ballots in the race in the Aug. 17 primary election.

King County Council members appointed Finkle to the bench Feb. 22. The council created the position last year to address increasing District Court caseloads.

The court — the largest court of limited jurisdiction in the state — has responsibility for traffic infractions, certain civil matters and misdemeanor criminal offenses in unincorporated King County, contract cities and for the adjudication of state offenses — violations of state statute in the county or when the arresting agency is the Washington State Patrol or another state law enforcement agency.

District Court caseloads have increased each year since 2003; officials expect the caseload to increase further through 2011. Because of the increase in cases, the state Administrative Office of the Court — tasked with advising the Legislature about the number of judicial positions needed in each county — recommended for the number of King County District Court judges to be increased.

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