PORT TOWNSEND — Attorney Mindy Walker has announced her intention to run for District Court judge, a position currently held by Jill Landes who is retiring.
Attorney Noah Harrison also has declared his intention to file for the position.
Filing week for candidates begins Monday and extends through Friday for this year’s election. The primary is Aug. 7 and the general election is Nov. 6.
Walker, 41, is a partner in the firm Ramirez & Walker Inc., of Bainbridge Island and Port Townsend and currently practices criminal defense. She has represented clients in dependency, civil, family, criminal and traffic cases.
“I am uniquely qualified because not only have I represented people and tried cases of every type of law practiced in District Court, but I’ve also practiced in courts at every level of government, including administrative, municipal, district, superior, as well as federal and tribal courts,” Walker said.
She has experience in Jefferson, Clallam, King, Mason, Pierce, Kitsap, Skagit, Snohomish, Pierce, Kittitas, Lincoln, and Spokane counties, she said.
She regularly serves as judge pro-tem on Bainbridge Island and in Kitsap County. She also provides criminal defense in federal court.
Walker — who hails from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho — earned an undergraduate degree in international studies and political science from Trinity Western University in British Columbia, and a law degree from Gonzaga School of Law in 2006.
During law school, she served as a legal aid assistant with World Relief in Spokane, and was an extern for the Washington State Court of Appeals in Spokane. She was the Amnesty International Co-Chair at the law school and president of the International Law Society.
She was part of a Hot Shot fire crew for the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho during college.
“Each person accessing the court — whether an attorney, defendant, the prosecutor, the victims — they all deserve civility from the judge,” Walker said.
“It is not currently always given. It doesn’t mean a person isn’t going to face a consequence for their actions; it does mean they deserve civility.
“I will change the way the court operates with their pro-tempore judges. Currently, attorneys who regularly appear in that court also sit as pro-tems, so there’s an appearance of unfairness. A defendant has an attorney who appears as a judge and then appears as an attorney.”
Part of the job of a judge is to make sure a case is completed and is fully finished, so an appeal can be made, she said.
“One of the ways is to write memorandum opinions that outline why a decision was made. That’s important for the defendant and the state. I’m committed to doing this to protect appeal rights.”
Walker is an advocate for mental health court and would like to see re-licensing programs. She is also interested in re-establishing the idea of a community court.
“I’m interesting in re-instituting a community court so the judge can travel to the west end of Jefferson County. Those people out there do not have access to our court. It is difficult for them to get here and public transportation is not always easy.”
Walker is active with Adoption Advocates International, a humanitarian organization serving orphans and vulnerable children. She has served as an aid worker in Ghana and Athens, Greece and the Republic of Congo. She has returned to the Congo on behalf of the Love More Foundation to support impoverished women and children.
She is a committee member with Port Townsend’s Sunrise Rotary.
Walker and her husband, Kelvin Thompson, moved to Jefferson County in 2007. They have adopted two sons, Kasongo, 5, from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Walker, 2, from India.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]