News Releases
Office of Governor Gary Locke
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 23, 1999
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Locke names four to King County Superior Court positions

OLYMPIA — Gov. Gary Locke today named four individuals to fill vacancies on the bench of the King County Superior Court.

The governor named James A. Doerty, Helen Halpert, Palmer Robinson and Julie A. Spector to replace judges George Finkle, Marcia Pechman, Bobbe Bridge and John Darrah.

"These are well-rounded people with the legal skills, demeanor and real-life experience needed to make a top-notch judge," Locke said of the appointments. "I look forward to having them join the Superior Court in King County."

Doerty, 54, currently serves as a family law commissioner for the King County Superior Court, presiding in child welfare and family law proceedings. He attended the University of Washington for both his undergraduate and law degrees. Doerty worked as a public defender for eight years and served as Senate counsel in the Northern Mariana Islands. He has worked extensively on child welfare issues, training programs for law students and social workers, and helped to organize and lead an AIDS task force in King County.

Halpert, 47, is the current presiding judge at Seattle Municipal Court where she acts as chief administrative officer for the court, involved in numerous county-wide criminal justice initiatives and setting overall policy for the court. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles and earned her law degree at the University of California at Davis School of Law. She has been active in the Northwest Women's Law Center and served as chair of the Gov. Locke's Domestic Violence Action Group. She is a member of the board of directors for First Place, the Northend Jewish Community Center and worked as a school volunteer. She is the mother of two children.

Palmer Robinson, 48, has specialized as an attorney in complex civil law cases involving product liability, liquor liability, insurance coverage and employment law. She attended Stanford University and Hastings Law School in California. She has published works dealing with civil procedures and motor vehicle accident procedures for attorneys. She is the mother of three children and is active in their school activities.

Julie Spector, 41, is an attorney from Issaquah, representing individuals in mental health law and criminal law. She also serves as a judge pro tempore in King County Superior Court. She earned a bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College in Maine, attended the Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire and received her law degree from the University of Puget Sound School of Law. She also has served as both a public defender and deputy prosecutor. She has served as a guest lecturer on mental health issues in the law throughout the area.

The four new appointments will fill vacancies on the bench in King County Superior Court. Judge George Finkle resigned last month after 10 years on the bench to join Judicial Dispute Resolution, an arbitration/mediation firm. Judge Marcia Pechman also resigned last month after 11 years on the bench to accept a position as U.S. District Court judge. Judge Bobbie Bridge will be leaving the court in January after nine years to become the state's newest Supreme Court justice. Judge John Darrah will retire in February after 14 years on the Superior Court bench and six years on the Seattle Municipal Court. Darrah served as presiding judge for both of those courts, and as an assistant U.S. attorney, a public defender and as a private practice attorney.

Two of the appointments become effective immediately, and two will take effect early next year. Each position carries an annual salary of $108,300.

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