Do you know your Superior Court Judges… many never appear on the ballot.

Trooper Gadd

THE way Superior Court Judges are elected came to light recently, to this reporter,  in the case of a state trooper that was killed on the Freeway in Marysville.  A suspect in the case just had his bail reduced from $1,000,000 to $100,000 by Judge Richard Okrent in Snohomish County. This suspect was in Snohomish County jail and on hold for ICE. Please read: The full story here…

The Fourth Corner looked up Judge Okrent; wanting to find who might be running against him.   It was found that he was appointed on January 18 2012 by Christine Gregoire; has never been on the ballot for Superior Court; and is already marked “Elected” on the auditor’s Web Site for 2024 as a result of filing for office this year.  No campaign, no accountability to the people, nothing.

See the chart below  to see who has Never been on the ballot in Snohomish County as a Superior Court Judge.

Benitez Santana Suspect

ACCOUNTABILITY of the government  and a government of the people is said to be a hallmark of Washington State’s Constitution. In most cases these tenets are apparent with the people being able to vote in a public process for those office holders in the government in positions of power.  Open and public elections with widespread knowledge of candidates seems to be the goal.  All three parts of our government, Executive, Legislative AND Judicial in Washington State are brought to the voters for elections under the Constitution.

BUT There seems to be one exception to this philosophy at the Superior Court Judge level in Washington. For example if there is only one candidate to FILE for Superior Court Judge,  in certain population dictated jurisdictions, he or she will not ever appear on any ballot for that 4 year term, according to the State Constitution.  A citizen will know very little about these individuals since they do not have to show any campaign activity at all.

RESEARCH in the meantime to change theses laws will be necessary and to get more candidates to run to provide a choice is another action.

The following rules apply for the “election” of judges according to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW)


RCW 29A.52.220

RCW 29A.36.170


The Fourth Corner looked up information on all 17 Superior Court Judges in Snohomish County. The chart below shows the outcome.


RCW 29A.52.220

RCW 29A.36.170



provision of this Constitution to the contrary, if, after the last day as provided by law for the withdrawal of declarations of candidacy has expired, only one candidate has filed for any single position of supe- rior court judge in any county containing a population of one hundred thousand or more, no primary or election shall be held as to such po- sition, and a certificate of election shall be issued to such candi- date. If, after any contested primary for superior court judge in any county, only one candidate is entitled to have his name printed on the general election ballot for any single position, no election shall be held as to such position, and a certificate of election shall be is- sued to such candidate: Provided, That in the event that there is filed with the county auditor within ten days after the date of the primary, a petition indicating that a write in campaign will be con- ducted for such single position and signed by one hundred registered voters qualified to vote with respect of the office, then such single position shall be subject to the general election. Provisions for the contingency of the death or disqualification of a sole candidate be- tween the last date for withdrawal and the time when the election would be held but for the provisions of this section, and such other provisions as may be deemed necessary to implement the provisions of this section, may be enacted by the legislature. [AMENDMENT 41, 1965 ex.s. Substitute Senate Joint Resolution No. 6, p 2815. Approved No- vember 8, 1966.]