King County Council Names York & Poydras to Southeast District Court Vacancies

Late Wednesday morning, April 5, 2017, The King County Council chose Matthew York and Jason Poydras to fill the King County Southeast District Court vacancies created by the retirement of Judge Richard Bathum and election Judge Matt Williams to King County Superior Court.

York and Poydras were chosen unanimously by the King County Council Committee as a Whole. They will be formally elected and sworn into office on Monday, April 10.

Photo of Matt York

Matt York

Matt York is currently serving as a Seattle Assistant City Attorney and Precinct Liaison Attorney-East.

He also serves as a pro tem judge for the City of Issaquah, City of Kent, and City of Kirkland.


Photo of Jason Poydras

Jason Poydras


Jason Poydras currently works as a Senior Administrative Law Judge at Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings in Seattle.



King County Council Appoints Michelle Gehlsen and Jill Klinge to Fill Northeast District Court Vacancies

Photo of Judge Michelle Gehlsen

Judge Michelle Gehlsen

Photo of Judge Jill Klinge

Judge Jill Klinge

Citizens for Judicial Excellence conducted a Preference Survey of the applicants to the vacancies in King County Northeast District Court created by Governor Inslee’s appointments of Judges David Steiner and Ketu Shah to the King County Superior Court.

We received an outstanding number of responses to the survey. The CJE Board compiled the responses and delivered them to the King County Council for them to consider during the selection process.

We’re happy to report that two of the candidates the survey respondents chose were among the top three presented to the Council.

Late last week, the Council voted to appoint Bothell Municipal Court Judge Michelle Gehlsen and former Redmond Prosecutor and current pro tem judge Jill Klinge to fill those vacancies.

CJE Past President Padula Elected Judge

CJE President Daryl Graves Congratulates Judge Padula on Her Election to Pierce County District Court


Former CJE President Elizabeth “Lizanne” Padula was elected to the Pierce County District Court bench in November 2018. Judge Padula won with 54% of the vote.

Many CJE members attended Judge Padula’s swearing-in ceremony at the Pierce County District Courthouse on January 17, followed by a reception.

CJE President Daryl Graves stopped by the courthouse recently to congratulate Judge Padula and extend CJE’s best wishes!

Another Successful Bingo Night!

Thank you to everyone who attended CJE’s 5th Annual BingoNight at Sahalee Country Club on Saturday, October 21! It was a smashing success — we were sold out and met lots of new faces and had plenty of fun. We raised the most money ever for our Bingo Night.

This year’s theme was Italian with all our volunteers decked out as gondoliers. The crowd enjoyed and danced to the music of John Mucklestone’s Blue Mariah Band and dined on chicken piccata and cheese tortelinni.

Thanks to all our volunteers who worked hard to make the evening run smoothly and successful!




Another Successful Poker Night!

Thank you to everyone who attended CJE’s 8th Annual Poker Night at Sahalee Country Club on Saturday, April 22! It was a smashing success — we were sold out and met lots of new faces and had plenty of fun.

The Final Table

CJE President Lizanne Padula congratulates the winners (l to r, Jimmy Zachor, James Pond, Padula and Christy LaGrandeur)

Congratulations to Christy LaGrandeur who won First Prize and is the new Poker Night Champion. Jimmy Zachor came in Second and James Pond was third.

Our Blackjack winners were Chuck Lind with runners up Thomas Hudson and Valerie Bouffloy.

Congratulations to all!




King County Council Appoints 3 to District Court Vacancies

On Monday, May 9, 2016, the King County Council has made three District Court appointments to fill vacancies that have recently occurred:

Southwest Division Election District
Laurel Gibson was appointed to the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Victoria Seitz.

West Division Election District
Lisa Paglisotti and Gregg Hirakawa were appointed to the vacancies created by the retirement of Judge Eileen Kato and the appointment of Judge Johanna Bender to the King County Superior Court.

All three of these newly appointed judges will be required to stand for election this November. The filing period for this election ended on Friday, May 20. Brian Todd filed against Judge Laurel Gibson in the Southwest Division; Judges Paglisotti and Hirakawa will run unopposed.

CJE was very active in this appointment process and monitored all stages. Two of the three positions were filled with candidates CJE recommended to the King County Council’s Law & Justice Committee.

Thanks for a Great Poker Night!

IMG_2609Thanks to everyone who attended CJE’s 8th Annual Poker Night at Sahalee Country Club on Saturday, April 23! We had a record turnout and raised $21,000 for our campaigns in the coming 2018 elections.

And congratulations to Mike Uhrich whose superb playing won him the First Place prize, a trip for 2 to Puerto Vallarta!


CJE President Padula Testifies Before Senate Law & Justice Committee

CJE President Lizanne Padula testified before the Washington State Senate Law & Justice Committee on June 17, 2015, regarding SB6134 “Exempting pretrial electronic alcohol monitoring programs from statutory limitations on pretrial supervision costs.” Padula testified on behalf of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

CJE Featured in Seattle Times Article

Seattle Times 2013-06-23 Front PageCitizens for Judicial Excellence Featured in The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times ran a feature article on CJE’s mission and growing influence in the Sunday, June 23, 2013, edition:

“Over the past several years, the group has emerged as a muscular — and some say unprecedented — force in typically low-profile elections for municipal- and district-court judges in King and Snohomish counties.

National experts say it is one of the only groups in the United States raising money to affect the outcomes of such low-level judicial races.

CJE won four of five races it targeted in 2010, including ousting two incumbent judges with independent-expenditure campaigns that dwarfed spending by the targeted candidates.

Click here to read the full article in The Seattle Times.


King County Council Names Ketu Shah New Judge for NEDC

Ketu ShahThe King County Council on Monday, March 18 appointed Bellevue attorney Ketu Shah to the King County Northeast District Court seat vacated by the untimely passing of Judge Frank LaSalata. After lengthy deliberation, the Council voted to name Shah from a final list of three candidates that also included Larry Mitchell of Redmond and Kara Murphy of Sammamish. All three were on CJE’s “short list” of recommended candidates to the Council following a survey of CJE members. Congratulations to soon-to-be Judge Shah.