Greetings. My name is Kitty-Ann van Doorninck and I am honored to serve as your 2019 Superior Court Judges’ Association (SCJA) President. As a Pierce County Superior Court judge for over 20 years, I have held prior leadership positions within the SCJA, previously serving a term on the Board of Trustees, as well as chairing both the Legislative and Family & Juvenile Law Committees. With this experience, I hope to provide leadership worthy of your confidence.
Despite the complexity of the issues the SCJA faces, and the challenges involved with adequately funding Washington’s courts, our organization remains committed to working with courts at all levels to develop a comprehensive and strategic plan to secure proper funding and continue our important work. To that end, I have identified several goals that will warrant our time and attention over the next several years:
Preserving the court’s role as a separate, equal and independent branch of government;
Advocating for an adequately funded justice system; use research and outcome analysis to measure efficacy of judicial programs;
Enhancing public confidence in the judiciary;
Eliminating racial or ethnic disproportionality and disparity;
Promoting access to justice for persons of limited financial means, persons with disabilities, and persons with limited language proficiency;
Recruiting and maintaining a diverse, competent, independent, and ethical judiciary;
Modernizing court infrastructure and operations; and
Improving court security (the SCJA has identified security issues in each of Washington’s 39 superior courts).
Consistent with these goals, I would also like to begin addressing the tension between our obligation to advance “access to justice” for pro se litigants and case law that holds pro se litigants to the same standard as attorneys when it comes to court rules and procedures.
I’d also like to take advantage of the momentum started by the implementation of the Trueblood decision and develop an ad hoc committee to work on Behavioral Health issues as they affect Superior Courts.
Finally, I’d like to work in partnership with stakeholders on domestic violence issues, including the implementation of HB 1517 and firearms surrender.
I look forward to the year ahead and will work hard to earn the trust you have placed in me.
Judge Kitty Ann van Doorninck