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!

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.

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.