Pierce County District Court, Position 3 – Tim Lewis

Judicial Questionnaire

Candidate Information

  • Candidate Name: Tim Lewis
  • Position Sought: Pierce County District Court, Position 3 (Non-incumbent)
  • Home Legislative District: 26th LD
  • Democrat: As a judicial candidate, I am precluded from claiming party affiliation.

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.

Please see attached resume.

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.

Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, 2013-Present
– Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
– Felony Trial Unit Team Chief
– District Court Division Chief
– Felony Division Chief

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?

I have not.

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

Yes, in both Pierce and Kitsap Counties after receiving certification as a Judge Pro Tem from the Washington State Bar Association and District and Municipal Court Judges’ Association. The experience has been humbling, challenging, and immensely rewarding. Each time I appear as a pro tem judge, I learn something new and am reminded how much work is required to be a competent judicial officer.

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

– Knowledge of the law;
– Experience both as an attorney and judicial officer;
– Experience practicing in Pierce County District Court;
– Familiarity with the Pierce County District Court bench and its staff;
– Judicial temperament exhibiting respect, goodwill, patience, and decisiveness;
– My longstanding commitment of service to the people of Pierce County.

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

I have a passion for public service and am committed to serving the people of Pierce County. The Pierce County District Court is the court members of our community are most likely to come into contact with. As a result, the Pierce County District Court is uniquely positioned to positively impact our community while ensuring access to justice and fair treatment for all. As a District Court Judge, I will be committed to ensuring access to justice for all Pierce County community members, and will work diligently to support court services assisting parties struggling with mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness, and those impacted by domestic violence.

I also believe that individuals seeking elected office should be longstanding members of the community they seek to serve. I have lived in Pierce County for 15 years; my wife for 25 years. Our son attends public school here in Pierce County. I have endeavored to be active in our community both personally and professionally. My family and I have volunteered our time throughout Pierce County, supporting community organizations assisting veterans, our homeless population, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and our community youth. Professionally, I have been an active member of the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, where I have served on two standing committees.

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

I believe my campaign is going well. The responses I have received to my candidacy, both within and without the Pierce County legal community, have been supportive and encouraging. My campaign will appeal to voters through my longstanding personal and professional commitment to our Pierce County community. I am the local candidate in this race, having practiced law exclusively in Pierce County for the past fifteen years, while living in Tacoma, University Place, and presently Gig Harbor.


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; our courts belong to the people we serve. Public court records should be readily available and as inexpensive as possible. Our courts should exercise caution and care in responding to any request to seal court records, balancing the sensitivity of the information being sealed against the public’s right to transparency in its court system.

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

During court proceedings, all cell phones should be turned off. As to jurors specifically, the Court should consider asking jurors to leave their cell phones in the jury room while court is in session.

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?

Yes; courts should not be looked to as a source of revenue. In assessing costs, a court must be mindful of what is legislatively prescribed while exercising its discretion appropriately. Imposing fees and fines upon individuals who lack the ability to pay serves no purpose, and often creates more problems for the individual and our community than it solves. The rule of law and access to justice does not come without monetary cost. The courts of our state should be funded by legislative appropriations.


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?

The Pierce County District Court belongs to the people of Pierce County and all of its communities and constituencies. The Court has a responsibility to be accessible and responsive to the community it serves. As a District Court Judge, I would seek to make the services of the court readily available via the internet. This would include online chat with court staff, so parties are not required to make unnecessary and inconvenient trips to the courthouse in downtown Tacoma. I would also seek to ensure that all court forms are available online, are written in common vernacular, and are available in the variety of languages used by members of our Pierce County community. I also believe strongly that judicial officers have a responsibility to maintain their connections to the community they serve and engage in regular outreach to all constituencies. I believe youth outreach, ensuring that our judicial officers have a presence in our schools, providing education and transparency about our legal system, is vital. For the past fifteen years, I have served the people of Pierce County and endeavored to be accessible and active in our community. This will not change if I am elected to the Pierce County District Court bench.

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

The phrase Black Lives Matter is a term that should be obvious, but is a stark reminder that people of color have been and continue to be treated unfairly by our criminal justice system and its agents. This reality has manifested itself in a number of ways, from mass incarceration to a disproportionate number of situations in which people of color are subjected to force by agents of our criminal justice system. Like every other stakeholder in our legal system, judicial officers must be ever cognizant of this sobering historical and present fact. As a District Court Judge, I will be mindful of this disparate impact in evaluationing all parties and facts present before me.

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

Judges should be longstanding members of and invested in the community they serve. Judicial officers have a responsibility to be active in their communities, engaging in regular outreach to all constituencies to ensure accessibility and responsiveness. Additionally, our courts must be open and transparent in all of its official proceedings and actions. The people of Washington State have a constitutional right to open and public court proceedings. This includes documentation filed with the courts, which should not be sealed absent compelling reasons necessitating such. Members of our community, including our youth, should be encouraged to visit and attend our courts, meet judicial officers, lawyers, and court staff, and be encouraged to ask questions or raise any concerns they might have. As judges, we work for the people of our community, and we must establish availability and responsiveness to any issues our community might be facing.


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

Printed Name: Tim Lewis

Date: 06/15/2018

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