District court judge considering second term

PORT TOWNSEND — Mindy Walker is running for re-election as a Jefferson County District Court judge.

Walker, 45, was elected to the position in 2019. She registered for re-election with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission on Jan. 27 and plans to file her candidacy on Monday when the nominating period for five days will start for November 27th. 8 general elections.

No opposition has been announced for the post of judge. If three or more candidates are submitted for a position, the choices will be reduced to two in one of the first two primaries on August 2.

“My work on the bench in the District Court has been a privilege and a pleasure,” Port Ludlow resident Walker said in a press release.

“I ask my constituents to review my record and consider re-electing me to maintain the consistency and forward movement that I believe my staff and I can provide.”

District court work includes felony and criminal matters, traffic violations, and civil matters, such as protective orders, name changes, small claims, and other civil disputes involving $100,000 or less. The District Court also serves as the Municipal Court for the City of Port Townsend.

Washington state district court judges will receive $193,447 per year, beginning July 1.

Among his accomplishments, Walker said, is the transition to Zoom audiences when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and the “ever-evolving” needs over the past two years since then.

“Despite Zoom’s learning curve for attorneys, staff, and citizens, and the frequently changing mandates of federal, state, and local governments, she and the District Court staff have maintained the court and its business and its good operation,” the statement said.

“It’s been a huge effort for everyone,” Walker said in an interview Friday.

At the start of the pandemic, court hearings were moved to a Zoom platform so everyone appeared virtually, she said.

“The whole courthouse was closed at the very beginning, so we streamed our hearings on YouTube so people could still access the courtroom,” Walker said.

This has continued, even since the reopening of the courthouse.

Walker’s court now has Zoom available for almost every type of hearing and it’s live streamed on YouTube. This allows for greater public access, greater transparency and more comprehensive interpretation services, she said.

It also avoids long journeys to get to hearings.

“For people who are on the west side of Jefferson County, it takes hours to get to Port Townsend,” she said.

“It’s an opportunity to appear at a hearing without having to take time off work for a hearing that can last five minutes,” she said.

“The intention is to continue this practice.”

Walker continued the behavioral health court created by previous judge Jill Landis and aims to expand it with a therapeutic court coordinator for district and higher courts.

“Our goal is to help and support people who have mental health issues and that’s why they end up in the system,” helping them access the services they need, Walker said. friday.

The Behavioral Health Court is a collaborative effort involving mental health services, housing support, prosecutors, defense attorneys, therapy for substance use disorders and law enforcement. , she said in her press release.

The multi-agency effort serves the community in two equally important ways; it reduces recidivism, thereby protecting the public, she added.

A 2006 graduate of the Gonzaga School of Law, Walker worked as a forest firefighter for several years before entering law school.

She enjoys hiking and running on the Olympic Peninsula and is training for a half marathon in the fall.

As an associate attorney at a successful Jefferson County law firm, she “devoted a great deal of time providing legal services to businesses, families, children and seniors,” she said. .

As a private citizen, she served on several charity boards and was an active international humanitarian worker before being elected.

Professionally, Walker is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, the Jefferson County Bar Association, and the National Association of Women Judges. She serves on the board of directors of the Association of District and Municipal Court Judges, the Diversity Committee and the Therapeutic Courts Committee.

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Managing Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or [email protected].