Pierce County Superior Court Judge Dept 9 – Doris Walkins

Judicial Questionnaire 2022

Candidate Info


Candidate Name:     Doris Walkins
Position Sought:     Pierce County Superior Court Judge Dept 9
Are you an incumbent for this position?     Non-incumbent
Home Legislative District:     27th

Campaign Info

Campaign Manager or Point of Contact:     Rob Richards
Website     www.electdoriswalkins.com
Facebook     ElectDorisWalkinsJudge
Twitter     None

Part I – Candidate Background

1. Please describe your qualifications, education, employment, past community and civic activity, as well as any other relevant experience.

I have been a Pierce County Commissioner for the last two years, hearing all case types as a judicial officer except adult felony matters. Prior to that I owned and operated my own law firm for 16 years practicing family, criminal defense, estate planning, dependency, terminations, adoptions, contract negotiations and spent 14 years as a Title 26 guardian ad litem, doing parenting investigations on high conflict family law matters.

2. What prompted you to run for this office?

I wanted to run for office because I’d like to have more say over the administration of our court, creation of new therapeutic courts, tackling of our case backlog and expansion of DEI initiatives in our communities it’s. As a commissioner, we are at will employees and have minimal say in the actual systemic decision making.

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

The most important qualification is a combination of breadth of knowledge, ability to have meaningful interactions with litigants and application of the law to the facts, all while ensuring you are running your courtroom with fairness and equitable outcomes in mind. A judge must be able to juggle many factors when administering justice in any meaningful way.

4. What priorities are you seeking to address with your campaign?

My priorities are the therapeutic courts as a way to not only give appropriate litigants a chance ti rehabilitate themselves as an alternative to incarceration, but also as a means to addressing criminal case backlogs that impact how all cases are scheduled. Ensuring all case types are handled in a timely manner is a priority, along with also ensuring equitable application of the law to facts, no matter the litigant.

Part II – 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?

I will continue to be on our superior court DEI committee and develop strategic plans that are not only brainstormed and presented to the other judges for adoption, but also implemented. Our WA State Supreme Court has mandates that not only strive for fair and equitable outcomes, but demand implementation of action plans.

2. 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?

Our courts should be funded by budget allocations and not by relying on court fines; LFO’s for juveniles and their families have been die away with because of the crippling financial impact. Adult fines should follow suit and be replaced with another means of restitution such as community service.

3. Would you, if elected, bring restorative justice as a goal to your court room? * If yes, describe how that could look.

Yes; restorative justice is in my opinion essential to not only giving appropriate litigants an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves and become contributing members to society but it also gives them a chance to show true remorse for their crimes and help with the backlog issue in our courts.

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

By demonstrating a fair and equitable system by embodying it; you can’t just say you’ll strive for fairness and equity, you have to execute in an action plan. I intend to continue to develop an action plan with my colleagues, and implement said plan.

5. What are your thoughts on how our courts could permanently incorporate the growing virtual options after the need of the pandemic has passed?

Pierce County offers hybrid courts so that litigants can attend in person or via zoom and this should remain permanently. Our litigants have various physical, mental health and scheduling needs that can be addressed by providing options on how to appear for court.

6. Justice delayed is justice denied, what are your thoughts on how to catch up on the current backlog of cases awaiting trail? Additionally what changes to the current court system would you implement to insure speedy justice?

One key, in my opinion, is expansion of therapeutic court options as a means of addressing the backlog. This will not only help rehab appropriate litigants, but will free up our courtrooms to handle more trials. Also adding an additional judge and creating a Dept 25 would help ease the backlog. This Dept has been approved and needs to be funded, I believe.

7. What judicial reforms do you support to achieve greater equity and inclusion for BIPOC individuals in our communities?

Judicial reforms to achieve greater equity and inclusion for BIPOC individuals will definitely be execution of strategic plans aimed at this goal such as juror outreach initiatives to work towards broader diversity in our jury pools, more outreach via mentorship programs such as UW, Tacoma’s Legal Pathways program that pairs up a current underrepresented student interested in a career in the law, with a mentor-I have volunteered as a mentor in this program. Also PCMBA does the Youth and Law Forum which seeks to offer annual programming around educating youth, particularly BIPOC youth, on careers in the law. I volunteer with this program as well.

By typing my name below, I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.
Printed Name     Doris Walkins
Date (mm/dd/yy)     04/22/2024

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