City: Olympia, WA
Occupation: Supreme Court justice
Education: Earned bachelor’s from the University of Washington and law degree from Gonzaga University.
Experience: Member of the state Supreme Court since 1992, chief justice since 2009. Seattle Municipal Court Judge from 1988-92. Also has worked as an attorney in the Seattle City Attorney’s office and Snohomish Public Defender’s Office.
Family: Married, four children
Legal/Judical Experience: No information submitted
Other Professional Experience: No information submitted
Education: No information submitted
Community Service: No information submitted
Statement: For 18 years Justice Madsen has served on the Supreme Court and was unanimously elected Chief Justice in 2010. She graduated from the University of Washington and Gonzaga Law School and has practiced law in Washington for 33 years, beginning as a public defender and then Special Prosecutor for child abuse and family violence. In 1988 Justice Madsen was appointed to Seattle Municipal Court and elected Presiding Judge. She has been active in the community, including co-chairing the Crystal Brame task force to require police to adopt policies for investigating officer involved domestic violence, volunteering with Tacoma schools and the Tacoma Rescue Mission. Justice Madsen is a member of the Robert J. Bryan Inn of Court, the Initiative for Diversity, Washington Women Lawyers, and chairs the state Gender and Justice Commission. Madsen and her husband of 30 years and have four children.
As Chief Justice, Madsen is responsible for overseeing the judicial branch of government, which resolves disputes involving citizens, businesses, and governments. She believes the courts must use evidence based practices, and she is committed to enhancing fairness and access to the courts through use of technology, judicial education, and partnerships with community groups working on justice issues.
The Washington Supreme Court, in a three-way opinion, has upheld the conviction of a man who tried to have sex with a 13-year-old girl he’d met online who really was a Spokane police detective. All justices agreed with the ruling that upheld the attempted second-degree child rape conviction against Mitel H. Patel, rejecting the man’s claim that the case should be thrown out because there was no actual underage victim. Two sets of judges that agreed with the overall ruling but disagreed with the majority opinion submitted separate concurring opinions.
Two Washington Supreme Court justices stunned some participants at a recent meeting when they made comments suggesting that racial bias plays no significant role in the criminal justice system, The Seattle Times reported today.
The Washington state Supreme Court has a new chief justice. Barbara Madsen was sworn in to the top administrative role on the state’s high court Monday morning.