Seattle Times article discusses political action committee formed by Seattle DUI Attorneys

A recent article in the Seattle Times peeked my interest this morning.  It was about the political action committee called Citizens for Judicial Excellence.  This is a group of mostly Seattle DUI Attorneys who raise money to contribute to campaigns in municipal and district court judicial races.  The Times article painted this PAC as a group of DUI Attorneys who are trying to buy Judges through campaign finance contributions.

In my opinion I couldn’t disagree more and I really don’t see anything wrong with what this political action committee is doing.  Essentially this is a group funded by criminal defense attorneys.  The purpose of this group is to target Judge’s that are not good at what they do.  Typically because they cannot be fair and impartial.  The group contributes campaign finances to a better qualified applicant for that judicial seat.  This is completely legal, and happens in higher up campaigns all over the Country.  The only reason it is newsworthy in Seattle is because most of the Judicial races in District and Municipal Courts are relatively unknown.

And as a Seattle DUI Attorney that was the problem.  Sometimes you would get Judges who have been seated on the bench for years.  They did not follow the law.  They were rude to all parties involved.  Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and defendants.  And there were no consequences for their actions because they often ran unopposed.  They thought they could treat people anyway they wanted and there would be no consequences for their actions.

That is what this PAC wanted to stop.  And it is not like they are backing former defense attorneys who are pro-DUI.  Several of the campaigns they contributed to were former Prosecutors.  It was just the incumbent Judge was so poorly rated, any option would have been a better choice.

If you haven’t read the article check it out here.  It’s pretty interesting look into the world behind District and Municipal Court campaigns and the role this PAC plays.  It is slowly becoming a powerful political group in Washington State, and I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing.  Especially if it puts poorly rated Judges on notice that they can no longer just sit on the bench unopposed and continue to not do a good job.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Seattle.  He is currently rated a 10 out of 10 by Avvo and listed as a Top Seattle DUI Attorney.  He also is listed as a Rising Star in the field of DUI Defense by Seattle Met Magazine’s Top Seattle Attorneys publication.  An honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive.