King County Superior Court, Pos. 30 – Carolyn Ladd

Judicial Questionnaire

Candidate Information

  • Candidate Name: Carolyn Ladd
  • Position Sought: King County Superior Court, Pos. 30 (Non-incumbent)
  • Home Legislative District: 43
  • Democrat: Rule 4.1 of the Judicial Cannons does not allow me to answer this question.

Campaign Information

Part I – Candidate Background

1. Please briefly describe your qualifications, education, employment, community and civic activity, union affiliation, prior political activity, and other relevant experience.

Education: National Judicial College’s Judicial Academy; B.A. (Political Science) University of Washington; J.D. University of Oregon; LL.M. Georgetown University.

Employment: The past 20 years of my career have been devoted to ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion at Washington State’s largest private employer. (See #2 for details on my employment history.)

Community and Civic Activity: I am a Vice President of Washington Women Lawyers where I help organize events promoting equality for women.

I am helping organize a continuing legal education (CLE) course for Women’s History Month on March 3, 2020 celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment entitled “Voting, Leadership and Women: Historical Insights and Contemporary Implications.” I will be the moderator of a panel discussion. d-women-historical-insights-and-contemporary-implications

In March 2019 I helped organize a CLE for Women’s History Month entitled “Women in Law: Past, Present and Future.” I spoke on a panel regarding the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. My particular portion of the discussion centered around a dissent that Justice Ginsburg wrote in the Lilly Ledbetter case regarding gender pay equity. womens-history-month/2019-03-13

And also in March 2019, I wrote a blog post for the Washington State Bar Association entitled, “Second-String Citizen—What Implicit Bias and Symphonies Mean for Lawyers and Gender Equity.” n-for-lawyers-and-gender-equity/

In September 2019 I helped organized a CLE sponsored by Washington Women Lawyers entitled “Diversity Without Inclusion: Identifying & Eliminating Tokenism.”

And also in September 2019 I spoke on a panel organized by the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations on “Investigations in the #MeToo Era.”

I am a volunteer for the King County Bar Association’s Records Project that helps people vacate eligible criminal convictions. I wrote an article entitled, “Second Chances in Employment and Housing for Formerly Incarcerated People” that appeared in the King County Bar Association Bulletin: r-formerly-incarcerated-people

Union Affiliation: My grandfather worked in the auto industry in Detroit and was a member of a union affiliated with the AFL-CIO. My mother worked as a registered nurse for a county health department and was a member of AFSCME. My sister taught in a public high school and was a member of a union affiliated with WEA.

2. What law firms or public law offices (i.e. King County Prosecutor’s Office) have you worked for? Have you served as a prosecutor or a public defender? Please include dates, and title for each position that you have held, as well as areas of law practiced.

The Boeing Company Seattle, WA
Senior Counsel 1999 to Present
Ensure compliance with civil rights laws and other employment laws for Washington’s largest private employer. Manage employment-related litigation.

Jackson Lewis Seattle, WA
Associate 1998 to 1999
Opened the Seattle office of national labor and employment law firm with supervising partner from Lane Powell. Associate responsible for large caseload of employment-related litigation.

Lane Powell Seattle, WA
Associate 1995 to 1998
Associate responsible for large caseload of employment-related litigation.

State of Oregon Salem, OR
Assistant Attorney General 1992 to 1994
Litigated workers’ compensation cases in front of administrative law judges.

National Labor Relations Board Washington, DC
Attorney 1990 to 1991
Counsel to the Inspector General for the National Labor Relations Board.

3. Have you ever served as a mediator or arbitrator? (If so, please describe your experiences.) If you are an incumbent, do you perform settlement conferences?

%3. Have you ever served as a mediator or arbitrator? (If so, please describe your experiences.) If you are an incumbent, do you perform settlement conferences?%

4. Have you been a judge pro-tem? If so, what was that experience like? What did you learn from it?

Yes. I serve as a judge pro tempore in Seattle Municipal Court and in Kitsap County District Court. The cases that come before me are very important to the parties involved — my decisions impact people and their lives. My goal as a judge is to treat everyone who appears before me with respect, to listen to the parties, give them their day in court, and to do justice. Even if I rule against a party, I hope that they feel that justice was done.

5. What do you believe are the most important qualifications for a judge or justice?

A judge should be impartial, courageous, compassionate, and give all parties fair access to justice. A judge should know and follow the law, be intellectually honest, and work hard. A judge should be patient and listen, allow parties the opportunity to have their day in court, while balancing the need to run an efficient courtroom. I aspire to be the kind of judge that increases the public’s confidence in the judiciary.

6. What prompted you to run for this office? What priorities are you seeking to address with your campaign?

I was inspired to run after watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testify at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.
I believe that to have a more just and equitable justice system that we need more women judges.

These will be my priorities:

1. To treat everyone who comes into my courtroom with dignity and respect, to give them their day in court, to listen, and to do justice.
2. To have juries that represent the community; to ensure black and brown people are not unfairly dismissed with peremptory challenges.
3. To make jurors aware of implicit bias so that it does not unfairly influence their decisions.

7. What steps are you taking to run a successful campaign?

I have hired a political consultant, CD Strategic. I am in the process of visiting all 17 legislative districts (the 31st will be my 11th) and am also seeking the endorsements of elected officials.


Part II – Position-specific

1. Do you support making it easier for Washingtonians who are not members of the bar to access public records, particularly at the Superior/District court levels, where per-page fees are charged?

Article I, Section 10 of the Washington State Constitution requires that “Justice in all cases shall be administered openly, and without unnecessary delay.” General Rule 31 requires that “the public shall have access to all court records” except as limited by law. Viewing records at the courthouse is free. Unlike district court records, most King County Superior Court records are available online which (although not free) facilitates public access to court records.

2. Do you have any thoughts on how our courts should address the growing use of smartphones during court proceedings, particularly by jurors?

A judge should give the Washington Pattern Jury Instruction 1.01 that instructs jurors not to have conversations (including electronic ones) about the case, to avoid news about the case including on the internet, and not to do their own research via Google or the internet. And a judge should remind jurors every day of those instructions.

3. Is Washington relying too much on court fees to cover the cost of operating our judicial system? How do you believe our courts should be funded?

In 2015 the Washington Supreme Court decided State v. Blazina, 182 Wn.2d 827 (2015) holding that a court must consider a criminal defendant’s current and future ability to pay legal financial obligations. A judge should waive discretionary fines and fees for an indigent defendant.

According to the American Bar Association, “adequate court funding essential to the proper functioning of the courts, but is also essential to preserving the independence of the judiciary as the third branch of government.”


Part III – Access to Justice

1. If elected, how will you work to improve access to justice, particularly for communities and constituencies that do not understand the American legal system?

A judge can ensure that due process is available for all by making sure that foreign language interpreters are available in the courtroom. In criminal matters, a judge can ensure that a criminal defendant has effective assistance of counsel. In civil matters, a judge can make low-income, pro se parties aware of available resources to obtain legal representation or advice.

2. What does the phrase Black Lives Matter mean to you as a judicial candidate?

The phrase “Black Lives Matter” includes the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police and also wider systemic racism in the criminal justice system that is evidenced by statistics such as the following:

African Americans were 4.5 times more likely to be sentenced to death in Washington State than similarly situated white defendants. State v. Gregory, 192 Wn.2d 1 (2018) (declaring the death penalty to be unconstitutional because it was applied in an arbitrary and racially biased manner).

African Americans make up about 4% of the population in Washington State, but almost 18% of the prison population.

Nationwide Black students make up 39% of out of school suspensions and 31% of arrests at schools, but comprise only 15% of the student population.

A judge should be aware of implicit bias and systemic racism and do what she can to change the system to ensure justice for all.

3. What ideas can you offer to make our judicial system more open, transparent, and responsive?

As a volunteer at the King County Bar Association’s Renton Legal Clinic, I saw many clients who had civil legal issues who could not afford a lawyer. Although I could provide them with some legal advice at the clinic during our one-hour meeting, they usually had to proceed pro se. Sometimes these were significant legal issues such as living in rental housing that was not in a habitable condition or being the victim of unscrupulous consumer practices. A significant barrier to access to justice today is that many people with civil disputes cannot adequately assert their legal rights because they cannot afford to hire a lawyer. I have supported organizations like the Campaign for Equal Justice that support legal aid and have done pro bono work myself.


By typing my name below, I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.

Printed Name: Carolyn Ladd

Date: 02/26/2020

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