- Candidate Name: Cindi Port
- Position Sought: King County Superior Court Judge – Pos. 51 – incumbent (Incumbent)
- Home Legislative District: 46
- Democrat: Judges and judicial candidates are prohibited by the Code of Judicial Conduct from stating a party affiliation.
- Manager or Point of Contact: Mary Ann Ottinger
- Phone: +14254660619
- Address: PO Box 27113, Seattle, WA 98165
- Website: https://www.judgecindiport.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
I grew up in a small logging town in northern Idaho. I attended Whitworth University (’88-’92) on a full-ride academic and athletic scholarship. I then attended Gonzaga University Law School (’92-’95). In law school, I represented criminal defendants in Municipal Court, as a rule 9 intern. After law school, I worked at the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office for almost two years. I moved to Seattle and worked for the King County Prosecutor’s Office from 1997 until 2020. I have 15 years of experience prosecuting crimes ranging from DUI to Homicides. In 2010, I switched to the civil department of the Prosecutor’s Office and now have 10 years of experience handling complex civil litigation and wrong death cases. I am an experienced litigator having tried over 100 jury trials. For over a decade, I have volunteered my time at Angeline’s Day Center, which serves the needs of homeless women and Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets, which supports homeless, at-risk youth seeking to lead positive and self-sufficient lives. More recently, I have volunteered at the University of Washington School of Law as a guest instructor and judge for moot court competitions. From 1995 to 2002, I was a member of the Spokane and King County Prosecutor’s Union. After I was promoted to a Senior Deputy Prosecutor in 2002, I was not allowed to be part of the Union.
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.
1993-1995 I worked at a small law firm handling the conflict cases originating from the City of Spokane Public Defender’s Office.
1995-1997 I worked at the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as a Deputy Prosecutor prosecuting misdemeanor, felony drug and sexual assault cases.
1997-2010 I worked at the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as a Deputy Prosecutor. I was promoted to a Senior Deputy Prosecutor in 2002. I primarily prosecuted serious domestic violence and sexual assault cases. I served for three years on a special unit prosecuting homicides. I also served as a supervising attorney for several years overseeing the felony filing unit, hate crime prosecutions, and mental health hearings.
2010-2020 I worked at the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as a Senior Deputy Prosecutor. I represented King County and its employees in complex litigation and wrongful death cases. I have experience handling employment, breach of contract, discrimination, negligent road design, medical malpractice, civil rights and unlawful use of force cases.
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?
Although I have never served as a judge, arbitrator, or hearing officer, I have worked in several different roles as a neutral decision maker. The role and ethical duties of a prosecuting attorney are unique and demand neutrality. The goal is not merely to win cases or advocate zealously, but to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants and fully compensate individuals injured by King County. The role also requires decision making based not only on what you can prove in court, but what is best for the community’s safety and integrity. In short, the job as a criminal or civil prosecutor is to seek justice by examining each case from all sides and seeking a resolution that is fair.
5. What do you believe are the most important qualifications for a judge or justice?
I will be a judge who upholds the United States and Washington Constitutions, follows judicial precedent, and enforces court and evidentiary rules. I will work hard, be intellectually curious, and conduct independent legal research so that each litigant receives a thoughtful and well-researched decision. I will conduct myself with humility and integrity. I will insure all parties, participants, and observers receive equal and fair treatment under the law.
6. What prompted you to run for this office? What priorities are you seeking to address with your campaign?
It has long been my professional goal to finish my legal career on the bench for two reasons. First, I love the courtroom and have always been fascinated by the process of presenting evidence to a jury or judge to settle disagreements of fact and law. Second, I want to continue serving the community by ensuring that our judicial system guards against implicit bias and treats every litigant with respect.
7. What steps are you taking to run a successful campaign?
I was appointed to the King County Superior Court bench by Governor Inslee on April 1, 2020. I will have just 41 days in which to start my campaign prior to filing for election on May 11, 2020. During that timeframe, I have secured a campaign manager, selected logo designs, have a website ready to launch, engaged in fundraising, and secured endorsements from many judges, lawyers, and elected officials across the state. Due to the appointment being made very late in the pre-election season and also due to the Covid-19 crisis, I will be unable to attend many legislative district meetings. However, I will strive to attend as many as possible before the filing deadline.
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?
Yes. Public records should be as easily accessible to the public as possible.
2. Do you have any thoughts on how our courts should address the growing use of smartphones during court proceedings, particularly by jurors?
Jurors should have access to their telephones in case of an emergency; however, they should not be allowed to use their phones to research information regarding the issues presented in the case in which they are selected. This requires education of the jurors about how to properly use their phones, reminders throughout the trial, and trust by the judiciary that the jurors will follow the Court’s 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?
I believe the courts should be adequately publicly funded for criminal matters and reliance on fines, fees, and other Legal Financial Obligations needs to be addressed. While reasonable fees for filing civil cases has always been seen as appropriate, the rising level of these fees has become a barrier to civil justice for economically challenged families.
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?
Access to justice, cultural competence, and implicit bias are important issues that affect justice every day in court. A judge must ensure that her courtroom does not contribute to the problem, ensuring that implicit bias is avoided and that jurors understand its importance in a fair trial and that every litigant has an opportunity to be heard.
Individuals who are not U.S. citizens are far less likely to understand the American legal system and therefore are far less likely to report criminal behavior, whether they are a victim or witness. The result is that the conduct of perpetrators is sometimes left unchecked. On the civil side, non-citizens are far less likely to file a claim for damages after they have been harmed by the government. The court has a role to play in providing public education to communities that do not understand the American legal system so they will report criminal behavior and be willing to step forward as witnesses.
2. What does the phrase Black Lives Matter mean to you as a judicial candidate?
It means that every person, no matter their skin color, is a human being that should be treated with respect and dignity.
3. What ideas can you offer to make our judicial system more open, transparent, and responsive?
Judges should be involved in community education to enhance efforts to widen the diversity of jury pools and to explain the benefits of alternative and therapeutic courts. Through community outreach, underserved populations may be more likely to access the rights and protections offered by the justice system.
Judges have a responsibility to provide sufficient resources to litigants and participants in every case to be able to effectively communicate with the court. Judge should also make sure critical observers to hearings are provided interpreters. Beyond simply providing interpreters, judges should openly question litigants, observers and interpreters to ensure they can actually communicate with one another. This is the only way to ensure non-English speaking individuals can effectively communicate with the court.
By typing my name below, I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.
Printed Name: Cindi Port