Bainbridge Island launches search for new judge

Compassion, courtesy, decisiveness.

Those are just a few of the attributes that Bainbridge Island hopes to find in its next municipal court judge.

City hall officially started its search Friday to find a replacement for Judge Kate Carruthers, who announced in July that she would not seek reappointment to the bench.

The city posted the upcoming job opening via a "request for qualifications" on Aug. 23. The job carries a four-year term, but also comes with a reduction in hours and pay.

Carruthers currently has an annual salary of $94,945. City officials have said the next judge will work part-time, and the annual salary has been set at $68,659.

The next municipal court judge will be hired by Bainbridge Island City Manager Doug Schulze, and must be confirmed by the city council.

The city also announced a new timeline for the hire this week.

Previously, Schulze said he wanted to have a new judge hired by early December, as Carruthers' term ends at the end of the year.

City officials now expect to announce an appointment on Oct. 18, with the confirmation by the city council following on Oct. 23.

According to the request for qualifications advertised on Friday, Bainbridge is seeking candidates who are well-qualified attorneys.

The new hire must have substantial education, training and

experience related to Washington courts of limited jurisdiction, as well as in-depth knowledge of criminal law, process and procedure; criminal rules for courts of limited jurisdiction; standards for municipal court administration; rules of professional conduct; code of judicial conduct; courtroom procedures and rules of evidence; and local ordinances and rules.

The job notice also states the next judge "must be professionally competent – encompassing a high degree of intellectual capacity, judgment, writing and analytical abilities, knowledge of the law, and breadth of professional experience. In addition, the Bainbridge

Island Municipal Court judge must possess superb judicial temperament, including compassion, decisiveness, open-mindedness, courtesy, patience, freedom from bias, and commitment to equal justice under the law."

Other requirements include U.S. and Washington state citizenship; a juris doctor degree from an accredited law school; an attorney admitted to practice law in Washington; and residency in Kitsap County.

The deadline for the first review of submittals from job applicants is 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20.

Applications will be reviewed by the city manager, with help fromt he city attorney, through Oct. 18.

The review will include a look at applicants, screening of candidates, interviews, and considering feedback from police, prosecution and court administration officials.

Bainbridge Island Municipal Court handles all misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors that violate city ordinances and state laws. The court also has jurisdiction over civil infractions that violate city ordinances and state traffic laws.

According to the city, the Bainbridge Island Municipal Court had a caseload of 3,256 cases in 2012.

Most of the cases — a total of 2,404 — were for parking violations.

The second largest type of cases handled by the island court were for traffic and non-traffic infractions (612), followed by criminal cases (240).

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