King County District Court Judges preside over many types of criminal and civil matters, including all misdemeanor DUI arrests made by the Washington State Patrol, Port of Seattle Police, King County Sheriff's Deputies and University of Washington Police in King County. A Judge in West Division will typically preside over many Seattle DUI arrests.
On May 7th, the King County Council voted to appoint Johanna Bender to the bench in the King County District Court-West Division. See Press Release The vacancy was created by the departure of district court presiding Judge Barbara Linde who had recently been appointed to King County Superior Court.
Judge Bender received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and attended law school at the University of Washington. She began practicing law in Washington in 1996 and served 10 years working in criminal law and 3 years in civil law. Over the past several years, she has been a judge pro tem in several local courts, throughout King, Snohomish and Thurston Counties. I have personally been before Judge Bender in the King County District Court (Seattle and Redmond divisions) as well as the Kirkland Municpal Court.
The selection process utilized by the King County Council included a rating process of interested applicants by the King County Bar Association. In addition, all candidates had to complete a rating proces by at least one bar association that performs judicial evaluations in comfomity with provisions of Chapter 2.70 of the King County Council. After the initial vetting process, the names of 7 candidates who were rated "Exceptionally Well-Qualified" or "Well Qualified" were forwarded to the County Council for their consideration. The Council interviewed all 7 candidates on an April 30th meeting that ultimately resulted in the selection of Judge Bender. Out of the 7 candidates interviewed, 3 of them had received "Exceptionally Well-Qualified" Ratings.
Several councilmembers praised Judge Bender for her experience in domestic violence, her views on racial dispropotionality and her judicial compassion. Judge Bender will be assigned to the West Division (Seattle Courthouse).