McCloud enters race for Washington Supreme Court

Attorney Sheryl Gordon McCloud has entered the race for the Washington Supreme Court, Position 9.  - Photo courtesy of Sheryl Gordon McCloud
Attorney Sheryl Gordon McCloud has entered the race for the Washington Supreme Court, Position 9.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Sheryl Gordon McCloud

Attorney Sheryl Gordon McCloud has announced she is running for the Washington Supreme Court.

McCloud, a Bainbridge Island resident since 1986, is the third candidate in the race for Position 9. She joins Bruce Hilyer, a judge in King County Superior Court, and John Ladenburg Sr., a former Pierce County executive and prosecuting attorney.

It's McCloud's first run at elected office. She noted her experience with the Washington Supreme Court — which spans more than two decades of handling cases before the high court - and her work in other appellate courts. McCloud said she is committed to seeking justice for people who are least able to assert their constitutional rights.

She said she has been contemplating a run for the position for the past several months.

"I have such a passion for the Constitution and constitutional rights that I thought this was the time to do it," McCloud said.

"I have spent over 20 years handling cases before appellate courts, from the most simple matters to some of the most complex cases in the state of Washington," she said. "And while the others in the race have different backgrounds and different experiences, I'm the one with Washington Supreme Court experience."

McCloud is campaigning with the slogan, "A Justice for All," and said her main goal as a high court justice will be to apply legal and constitutional protections equally to everyone who comes before the state Supreme Court. Her career has been built on seeking equal rights for all.

She recalled one of her first volunteer cases, where she argued for the support of a California state law that protected the pregnancy disability rights of working women in a friend-of-the-court brief before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court upheld California's state pregnancy disability leave law.

In a recent case in Seattle, she won a new trial for Pete Kott, the former speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives, who had been convicted of bribery and extortion. A federal appeals panel voted 2-1 to reverse the convictions after finding the prosecution suppressed evidence in the case. Kott later pled guilty to a lesser charge and was credited for time already served in prison.

A product of the public school system, McCloud graduated at the top of her high school class and earned a degree with honors from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

After working as a legal secretary, she applied to law school, graduating in 1984 in the top 2 percent of her class at the University of Southern California School of Law.

She has served as a public defender, and now runs her own Seattle-based law firm, the Law Offices of Sheryl Gordon McCloud.

With Washington Supreme Court Justice Tom Chambers retiring at the end of his term this year, Position 9 will be an open seat.

Ladenburg and Hilyer have a bit of a head start on McCloud.

Ladenburg, a Tacoma resident, announced his candidacy in June 2011 and has raised $19,325 for his run. Hilyer, of Seattle, joined the race in January and has received $40,126 from donors to his campaign.

The filing period for the race is in May, the primary is in August, and McCloud said she expects others to join in the race.

"I'm not sure that there's that much of a head start that anybody has," she said.

McCloud is a founding member of the Washington Appellate Lawyers Association and is the longtime co-chair of the Amicus Committee with the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and vice chair of the Amicus Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She also earned the prestigious “William O. Douglas Award” for “extraordinary courage and dedication to the practice of criminal law.”

McCloud is married and has a son in high school. A longtime athlete, she enjoys biking and boxing in her spare time.

The boxing classes started before she thought about running for public office, however.

"When the Bainbridge Island Boxing Club opened, I started there and I must tell you, I feel like it's helped so much with my stamina and my mental attitude," she said.

"And I do feel that I have a lot in common with some of the best boxers; not in the ring, where I'm probably among the worst, but outside the ring, where I totally go for it. I am at the top of my game in what I do."


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