Skip to main content
King County logo
    (a) Election, Term, Vacancies, Removal and Selection Criteria.  
        (1) Elections.  
            (A) General Provisions. Each elected position (Presiding Judge, Assistant Presiding, and Executive Committee) shall be handled by a separate election.  The procedures set forth below shall be undertaken separately for each position in the following order:  Presiding Judge, Assistant Presiding Judge and members of the Executive Committee.
            (B) Solicitation of Candidate. Prior to each election, a questionnaire shall be circulated to every judge to determine whether that judge wishes to be a candidate for the position at issue.   The solicitation for the position of Presiding Judge shall occur no later than October 1 of the year in which a Presiding Judge is to be elected.  Immediately after a Presiding Judge has been elected, candidates for the position of Assistant Presiding Judge shall be solicited and an election for that position shall be held. Immediately after the election of an Assistant Presiding Judge, candidates for the Executive Committee shall be solicited.  The questionnaire for each position shall include a description of the election process and the deadline by which the questionnaire must be returned.
            (C) Candidate Information. A list of all judges who have responded affirmatively to the questionnaire shall be available from the Chief Administrative Officer throughout the nomination process. One week prior to the deadline for returning the questionnaires, the Chief Administrative Officer shall provide each judge with a list of all persons who have answered affirmatively regarding the race in question.
            (D) Reconsideration of Previously Submitted Questionnaire. Up until the deadline for returning questionnaires, a judge may withdraw a previously submitted questionnaire and re-submit a new questionnaire indicating whether that judges wishes to be a candidate for the position in question.
            (E) Distribution of Ballots. Except where there is only one candidate for a position, ballots will be immediately circulated to all judges after the deadline for returning the questionnaire for that position has passed. Each judge shall return the ballot in the time allotted. Voting may be by absentee ballot when necessary.
            (F) Counting. Ballots shall be counted by the three most junior judges present at the King County Courthouse on the first judicial day following the return date specified in the ballot.
            (G) Run-Off Elections. A candidate who receives a majority of votes cast shall be elected. If one candidate does not receive a majority of votes cast, there shall be a run-off election.
            (H) Single Candidate. When only one candidate has submitted his or her name for consideration, that candidate shall be deemed elected without the need for the distribution and counting of ballots.
        (2) Term.
            (A) The Presiding Judge shall serve an initial term of two-years.  Thereafter, the Presiding Judge may run for re-election for successive one-year terms. The term shall commence on January 1 of the year in which the Presiding Judge’s term begins.
            (B) The Assistant Presiding Judge shall serve a one-year term, commencing on January 1.  A candidate for Assistant Presiding Judge who wishes to serve in the last year of the term of the Presiding Judge shall indicate an intention to seek the position of Presiding Judge for the following term.  
            (C) The elected members of the Executive Committee shall serve a two-year term.  The terms are to be staggered such that approximately half the elected members are chosen in odd-numbered years and half in even-numbered years.  Terms shall commence on January 1.
        (3) Vacancies. If a judge who has been elected to any office resigns from office or is otherwise unable to complete a term, the Presiding Judge shall promptly establish an election process consistent with the method provided in these rules.
    (g) Executive Committee.
        (1) Membership of the Executive Committee.
            (A) The Presiding Judge and Assistant Presiding Judge shall serve as members of the Executive Committee.
            (B) The immediate past Presiding Judge shall serve as a member of the Executive Committee for the year following the judge’s service as Presiding Judge.
            (C) The chief judges of the juvenile, civil, criminal and unified family court departments and of the Maleng Regional Justice Center shall serve as members of the Executive Committee.
            (D) There shall be six additional members of the Executive Committee (seven if there is no immediate past Presiding Judge) elected at large.   The member elected to fill the seventh position, in the absence of an immediate past Presiding Judge, shall be elected for a one year term, as determined by lot drawn from all newly elected members.
            (E) When the Executive Committee is considering a report or recommendation made by a committee, the chair of that committee shall be invited to attend the meeting and may vote on issues pertaining to that committee.
        (2) Powers and Duties of the Executive Committee.
            (A) Decide matters of policy affecting the court, not reserved to the judges as a whole.  Decisions shall be final unless referred to the judges as a whole pursuant to LCMR 3(a)(13) (www.kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/get-help/links-for-lawyers/lcmr).  Provided, however, that decisions involving urgent matters may be implemented after notice to the judges.
            (B) Make recommendations on policy matters to the judges at any meeting of the judges.
            (C) Recommend the designation and duties of the committees of the court and receive reports and recommendations from committees.  Whenever matters to be considered by the Executive Committee concern the work of another committee, the chair of that committee shall be notified of the meeting and shall be considered a member of the Executive Committee for the limited purpose of voting on such matter.
            (D) Act in an advisory capacity to the Presiding Judge.
            (E) Review and advise the Presiding Judge concerning his or her decision, in the capacity of Presiding Judge, to report a judge or commissioner to the Judicial Conduct Commission.
            (F) Determine whether disciplinary action of a commissioner, short of termination, is appropriate.                                
            (G) Approve an expenditure budget and review and approve actual unfunded items.
            (H) Determine the general qualifications of and establish a training program for pro tem judges and pro tem court commissioners.  Training may be delegated to the relevant standing committee.
            (I) Conduct the annual performance review of the Chief Administrative Officer and the Director of Judicial Administration.
            (J) Meet at least once a month and provide written agenda and timely notice of the regular Executive Committee meetings to all judges and commissioners.   If attachments are available in electronic form, they shall be distributed with the agenda.
            (K) Promptly distribute to the judges written minutes of action taken by the Executive Committee.
            (L) In the absence of the Presiding and Assistant Presiding Judge, the senior member of the Executive Committee shall serve as Acting Presiding Judge.
    (h) Respective Chief Judge. In these Local Rules, “Respective Chief Judge” means:
        (1) In a case that has a Seattle case-assignment-area designation (SEA) and is:
            (A) a civil case or a family law case not involving children: the Chief Civil Judge;
            (B) a criminal case: the Chief Criminal Judge;
            (C) a juvenile offender case: the Chief Juvenile Judge;
            (D) a family law case involving children: the Chief Judge of the Unified Family Court.
       (2) In a case that has a Kent case-assignment-area designation (KNT) and is:
            (A) a civil case, a family law case not involving children, or a criminal case: the Chief Judge of the Maleng Regional Justice Center;
            (B) a family law case involving children: the Chief Judge of the Unified Family Court.

[Adopted effective September 1, 2016; September 1, 2017.]