Forks-area district court judge won’t seek re-election

FORKS — Longtime North Olympic Peninsula lawyer and jurist John H. Doherty is not seeking re-election to his Forks-area District Court 2 judge position.

Doherty, 70, a Beaver resident, emailed his decision Monday to Clallam County Bar Association members.

“I thought, well, should I spend my time in a courtroom for the next four years, or would it be more worthwhile to do some other things I want to do?” Doherty said Tuesday.

“If I won, I’d go ‘til I’m 75. That’s just four years I’d rather spend doing something else.”

Those things include carpentry, he said, adding, “carpenters and electricians are at the top of the pecking order.”

Doherty, a native of Clallam County and a 1966 Port Angeles High School graduate, has been a lawyer for 42 years.

“It’s with a bit of melancholy to step away from being in a courtroom daily after all these years,” Doherty said in the email.

“I intend to make myself available to help incoming District I & II Judicial Offices to ensure these two Districts work together.”

John D. Black, a Sequim resident who practices in Forks, announced March 9 that he plans to seek the part-time judgeship.

Doherty said he does not plan to endorse Black, and Black said Tuesday that he was hoping that Doherty would not run for re-election.

“I don’t really expect to talk to him a whole lot now anytime soon,” Black said.

Filing week for the Nov. 6 general election is May 14-18.

Doherty, the brother of former Clallam County commissioner Mike Doherty, was elected Port Angeles-area District Court 1 judge in 1998, defeating Deborah Kelly, and lost the position in 2002 when he was beaten by current Judge Rick Porter.

Doherty was appointed to the District 2 judgeship in 2012, succeeding Erik Rohrer, who was elected to Clallam County Superior Court, and won election to the position unopposed in 2016.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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