Skagit County Deputy Public Defender Cecily Hazelrigg-Hernandez is leading in the state Court of Appeals, Division I, District 3, judge race as of Tuesday’s initial ballot count.
Candidates for this office
Skagit County Deputy Public Defender Cecily Hazelrigg-Hernandez and private lawyer Tom SeGuine are vying for a seat on the state Court of Appeals.
State Court of Appeals, Division 1, District 3
|Questions||Cecily Hazelrigg-Hernandez||Tom SeGuine|
|Occupation||Deputy Public Defender, Skagit County||Attorney|
|Education||ATA – Paralegal, Skagit Valley College; BA – American Cultural Studies, WWU; JD, Gonzaga University School of Law; visiting student – Universidad de Guanajuato Facultad de Derecho||High School 1978; BA Political Science, State University NY 1982; Juris Doctor (Law) Willamette University 1986; Masters Management/Business Administration, Willamette University 1986|
|Elected offices held||None||Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney 2003 - 2007|
|Elected offices sought||Judge, Court of Appeals – Division I, District 3||State appeals judge|
|Community involvement||member – American Bar Assn, WA Bar Assn, Skagit County Bar Assn, Latino/a Bar of WA, Washington Defender Assn, Washington Assn of Criminal Defense Lawyers; member – Skagit-Island Partnership for Transitions Solutions; member/current Secretary – AFSCME Local 176 PD; volunteer – Skagit County Law Day Free Legal Clinics & Latino/a Bar of WA Free Legal Clinic; parent volunteer – Bellingham School District (2008-2014), Mount Vernon School District (2014-present); past member/alumni mentor – WWU Chapter Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlán; mentor – high school and university job shadow (2010 – 2016); team treasurer – NW United Girls ’06 Classic team (2016-2018); past member – Board of Directors, Bellingham YWCA||Board of Directors and President, Skagit Valley YMCA; ongoing pro bono legal work; Big Brothers and Big Sisters; Literacy Volunteer|
|Why are you running for office?||I believe that our communities are best served by judges who are well-versed in the law and that represent the people impacted by the decisions they make. For that reason a diverse bench in terms of background and experience can provide a more robust analysis and application of the law to the issues before them. My work as a defense attorney, representing indigent persons accused of crime at the trial level, as well as my extensive history of community service, has prepared me to represent the communities of District 3 in this way.||Because I am the most qualified person to fill the position of Judge in Division One of the Washington Court of Appeals because of my experience and background which includes 30 years of broad legal experience in and from a variety of key vantage points in all of the four counties within District 3 of Division 1 of the Court of Appeals. Experience in the legal system with a variety of cases is of vital importance once one realizes the function of the Court of Appeals. It is to review the decisions made by other judges in the various county courts, that is, municipal courts, county district courts, and county Superior Courts. Fifty percent of the cases reviewed by the Court of Appeals are criminal and 50% are civil. Naturally, the person best equipped to make such reviews is someone who is versed in and experienced with those cases. I am that person. My experience includes significant work in both civil and criminal law, and within each of those areas, working for both the plaintiff/prosecutor side and defense/defendant side of cases. For example I have worked for the last 11-12 years as a public defender for Skagit County representing poor and indigent defendants, many of whom have been minorities. During the same time I have continued to do some prosecution work. Before going into private practice in 2007 I was a prosecuting attorney for about 20 years. During that time I worked in family support cases, on juvenile justice cases and many criminal cases. I oversaw Skagit County's civil law division at the same time when I served as the prosecuting attorney. Since going into private practice I have represented many people pro bono on a variety of civil matters over the same time, providing them with access to justice that they would otherwise never have received. I have successfully prosecuted a variety of diverse cases including those involving personal injury, insurance disputes, civil rights cases, and employment cases. I have represented people before a series of Washington State agencies, including employers and employees, CPAs and medical practitioners. I have successfully sued banks for wrongful banking practices. I have practiced in Federal Court at various times over the years, most recently this year, in which I successfully secured a wrongfully withheld insurance payment held by a major national insurance company. This blend of experience and background allows me to come to this judicial position with a balanced and pragmatic approach to cases that I will hear, without bias; I will be able to be fair and neutral as a judge because of this broad and extensive experience. In addition to all of that, I have practiced appellate law, primarily before this (Division One of the Court of Appeals) court, repeatedly and consistently since 1990, some 29 years, handling many cases over that time period. Through those cases I have a very good understanding of appellate procedure and the appellate courts. I will not have to learn on the fly or on the job. I will hit the ground running. The other primary skill needed for a of a judge in the Court of Appeals is writing legal opinions. I have been deeply and continuously involved in legal writing and analysis over my 30 years of practice, and in fact going back to my law school days when I served on the law review. I am a skilled and proficient writer. District 3 of Division 1 of the Washington Court of Appeals is Skagit, Island, Whatcom and San Juan Counties. These 4 counties get only one judge on the Court for Division One. King County gets 7 and Snohomish County gets 2. The person who becomes the judge should represent these four counties. The experience I have described above has occurred in all four counties. I have served as a prosecutor in Skagit, Island and Whatcom Counties for many years during my career. I have additionally in private practice routinely worked on cases out of Island County. I have practiced law in all of the courts of the four counties. In addition, our family has lived here since 1990. I know the four counties and I know their legal communities. I am very able to represent them and the people of these four counties on the Court of Appeals.|
|What is the single biggest issue facing the candidate who is elected to this position?||Appellate judges are tasked with applying the relevant laws of the State of Washington to the facts of the cases before them. As such, the primary issues for this race are experience, integrity and work ethic.||I would say making the transition from lawyer to judge, especially as to the requirement to be fair and neutral and unbiased. That ability comes from a having a true broad background. There is also technical requirements of the Court of Appeals, and especially from the standpoint of reviewing cases and then authoring opinions. As discussed above, I am especially ready and suited to fill this role.|
|How will you address this issue?||My experience as a trial attorney committed to the rule of law and our constitutional principles, including promoting access to justice for historically marginalized communities, is critical. My entire legal career has been committed to serving traditionally underrepresented communities and, as such, I am intimately familiar with the impact of court rulings on not only the litigants in a given case, but their families, employers and the community. As a full-time Deputy Public Defender for Skagit County, I am able to manage a felony caseload efficiently while still ensuring exceptional representation for each individual client.||I will address it by bringing all the experience I have described here to the position, a natural progression from the work I have been performing for the last 30 years.|
|Why should voters choose you?||My work product and professional reputation demonstrate my commitment to service. I am honored to be endorsed by Judge Mary Kay Becker, whose impending retirement is creating the vacancy at the Court of Appeals which my opponent and I are seeking to fill. Additionally, I am endorsed by many other judges and attorneys within the District, including current and former Judges in Skagit County where I practice on a daily basis. Those endorsements are important because these judges have seen my work, watched my interactions with clients and opposing counsel and believe that I am the best candidate to serve as the next judge at Division I of the Court of Appeals. I am rooted in the communities of District 3, having been raised and educated in three of the four counties (Island, Skagit and Whatcom). I actively engage in service outside of the courtroom, but also contribute to our local legal community by mentoring newer attorneys, engaging in important dialogue and policy development with jail leadership, and helping with in-house trainings on important developments in the law.||Voters should choose me because I am the only candidate who offers this combination of background and experience for this position. I am the person best equipped to fill the seat and similarly represent the four counties of District 3.|
|What sets you apart from your opponent?||We have different work histories and backgrounds. Experience absolutely matters, but it is not simply a question of the quantity of one’s experience…the quality of that experience is perhaps even more important to consider. I believe that answer is best found by reviewing endorsements from within the legal community by judges and attorneys who have had opportunities to observe the work of the candidates. The voters of Skagit, Whatcom, Island and San Juan Counties should review our websites, endorsements and voters guide statements to decide who they would like to have represent them at the Court of Appeals||My opponent does not have the same qualifications and credentials. In virtually all salient categories, her experience is substantially and significantly less than what I have described above for myself. Most importantly, my opponent's background as a lawyer is significantly limited in that it includes slightly more than ten years of practice, during which time my opponent's practice has been almost all criminal defense, with very little private practice, very little civil practice, and no known appellate practice. It arguably is one dimensional. My experience is multi-dimensional.|
|As mentioned above, judges in the Court of Appeals are responsible for reviewing results and outcomes from a variety of cases. Experience is very important, hopefully obviously. Especially at this level, the person who is conducting that review should not be learning on the job. I will not have to learn on the job.|