Three candidates running for an open judge seat on the state Court of Appeals Division 2 for District 2 participated in a Sequim debate hosted by the FourC’s on July 23.
Close to 50 people attended the debate, which featured candidates Pam Loginsky, Tom Weaver and Mike Lynch. Candidates Thomas Bjorn, Jim Foley and Brendan Williams did not appear.
Lynch, an attorney of 31 years with experience in the state Attorney General’s office, said he has the trial and appellate experience necessary to be a good appeals court justice.
“Just because I work for the government doesn’t mean I don’t know when it’s messing up,” he said.
Loginsky, who has served as staff attorney for the Washington State Association of Prosecuting Attorneys since 1999, told audience members if they care about the Constitution, “This is one of the most important races on the ballot.”
Judicial restraint, interpreting the Constitution as written and the separation of powers are things she believes in, she said.
Weaver, a civil and defense attorney from Kitsap County, said he has argued more than 300 appeals and 400 to 500 trials in his 19 years of practice.
“I’ve defended the Constitution one person at a time,” he said.
Todd Ortloff of KONP asked the candidates a series of questions, one of which was, “What makes you the best candidate?”
Weaver said he is the best candidate because he has never represented government, big business or special interests but has always represented individuals.
Lynch said he knows criminal law, civil law and government law.
Loginsky said she has worked to protect defendants’ rights while serving the victim and the public and has served on quasi-judicial committees.
Ortloff asked the candidates about judicial control over sentencing and whether it was too much or too little.
Weaver said the Sentencing Reform Act was designed to be easy to apply but the revisions have made it complicated.
“The Sentencing Reform Act is in need of reform,” he said, adding it gives judges very little latitude in their sentencing decisions.
Loginsky said the Legislature has given drug and sex offenders treatment options under the sentencing laws and that the Appellate Court is only there to apply statutes, not create or change them.
Lynch said the old system had problems and was applied in a discriminatory manner. The Sentencing Reform Act gave more authority to prosecutors, he said.
For violent sex offenders, there should be a determinant sentence, not under the current guidelines, for them to serve along with an opportunity for rehabilitation, he said. If offenders cannot be rehabilitated, they should be committed, he said.
All six candidates will appear on the primary ballot with the top two facing off on the November ballot, unless one receives more than half of the votes in the primary election: In such a case, that candidate would win the race.
Reach Amanda Winters at firstname.lastname@example.org.