Pierce County Prosecutor – Mary Robnett

Judicial Questionnaire

Candidate Information

  • Candidate Name: Mary Robnett
  • Position Sought: Pierce County Prosecutor (Non-incumbent)
  • Home Legislative District: 27th
  • Democrat: I am running as Non-Partisan

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.

I am a professional prosecutor with over 24 years of experience. I devoted 18 years to public service with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, handling some of Pierce County’s biggest cases, and rose to Chief Criminal Deputy. I’ve seen the office run better than it is today and know what it takes to restore trust. Today I work for the Attorney General’s Office, where I was promoted by Bob Ferguson to be a supervisor in the Sexually Violent Predators unit.
As a deputy prosecutor, I served on the executive board of our bargaining unit, including serving as president and grievance officer. I also served on the board of the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs for several years.
I served on the Board of Directors, including serving as president, of the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County, a non-profit organization providing therapy, advocacy and education services. I served as faculty for the National District Attorney’s Association, I belong to the Robert J. Bryan American Inn of Court, and I am Secretary and Founding Member of the Women’s Intergenerational Living Legacy Organization (WILLO).

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.

Since 2012, I have been an Assistant Attorney General. I supervise attorneys while handling a high-volume case load of Sexually Violent Predator cases.
From 1994 until 2012 I was a Deputy Prosecutor in the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office. From 2009 to 2012, I served as Chief Criminal Deputy, supervising all the criminal divisions within the office, including support staff and over 70 attorneys. From 2001 until 2009, I supervised the Special Assault Unit, prosecuting all felony-level domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, sexual offender registration, and pornography cases. From 1994-2001 I was assigned to various trial teams, including Misdemeanor Division, Drug Unit, Special Assault Unit and Robbery/Assault Unit.
From 1992 to 1994 I was a Law Clerk at the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II.

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?


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

The most important qualifications for a prosecutor are fairness, wisdom, strong ethics, thoughtfulness, an openness to new ideas, and a commitment to non-partisan justice and fair, common-sense applications of the law.

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

It’s clear we need a change at the prosecutor’s office. The incumbent’s tenure has damaged the office and wasted taxpayers’ money through bad decisions and mismanagement. Pierce County deserves better than what we’re getting from the leadership of the Prosecutor’s Office. There have been too many scandals and poor decisions, too much wasted money, too much secretive and unethical behavior, and too much abuse of workers for the incumbent to continue.
With my management experience and 24 years as a professional prosecutor, including 18 years in the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, I’m well-placed to put the office on stronger footing and better serve our community. I am running as a Non-Partisan because politics has no place in a prosecutor’s office. I’m proud of my years in guild leadership and will reverse the incumbent’s policies and attitudes that have shown disrespect for voters and workers. I’m running to return professionalism, good management, and ethics to the Prosecutor’s position.

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

I am not a politician and I am a first-time candidate. I am running as a Non-Partisan to restore trust and integrity to the prosecutor’s office. I am running on my strong prosecutorial record and my reputation for fairness and ethics. I have retained a consulting firm and manager to run a professional and effective campaign.
Although the incumbent has been campaigning and fundraising for years, my campaign has raised over $167,000 in four months. I have strong support, endorsements and donations from lawyers and judges, the people who really pay attention to how the prosecutor’s office is running.
The Pierce County Minority Bar Association rated my qualifications for this office and I am happy to report they gave me the highest possible rating, Exceptionally Well Qualified.
I’m proud to be endorsed by former Pierce County Prosecutor Gerry Horne, Former Attorney General Rob McKenna, State Auditor and former Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, 27th LD Representative Laurie Jinkins, 27th LD Senator Jeannie Darneille, former Chair Jeannie Mitchell, and Pierce County Councilmember Rick Talbert.


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?

I support making it easier and less expensive for people to access records. Greater use and standardization of electronic record keeping is key to this.

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

This is an issue best addressed by each court through clear jury 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?

Currently, per a Supreme Court ruling, judges must inquire about the ability to pay legal financial obligations (LFOs) before imposing fines and costs as part of a sentence. As for overall funding, I would hope to see a greater state commitment to our court system.


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?

All of us – regardless of race, socioeconomic background, orientation, ZIP code or any other factors – should be equal before the law. As Prosecutor I will be mindful and systematic about driving out biases, increasing opportunities for all, and using the necessary task of criminal justice to help build healthier communities. Better access to justice starts with quality public defense and more community outreach to hear concerns from under-represented communities.

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

It’s a statement of values, one that reminds us that too many barriers to justice and too many disparities exist in the system today. Prosecutors must be mindful of these barriers and biases and thoughtfully and consistently fight against them.

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

I’ll comment on the Prosecutor’s Office itself, which unfortunately has not been open and transparent under the incumbent’s tenure. The text messages case that has cost taxpayers $1 million and counting as Exhibit A. I won’t tilt at windmills (with taxpayers footing the bill) as the incumbent has done. All elected officials, the Prosecutor included, should be open and accountable to the people and put their interest first. That’s a pledge I’m running on.


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

Printed Name: Mary E. Robnett

Date: 06/19/2018

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