Incumbent Justice Richard Sanders beat Bainbridge Island attorney Charlie Wiggins in a three-way primary election. As the top two vote-getters, both candidates advanced to the Nov. 2 general election because Sanders failed to capture more than 50 percent of the vote in the race, which eliminated Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff.
Wiggins has attacked Sanders, a self-described libertarian, both in his judicial decisions and his actions. In 2008, Sanders yelled “tyrant” at then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey during a black-tie dinner in Washington, D.C. In 2005, the state Judicial Council gave Sanders admonishment after he toured the state’s sexual predator commitment center on McNeil Island when many of the inmates had current appeals pending.
“Justice Sanders consistently votes in favor of cutting costs for builders at the expense of city governments and taxpayers,” Wiggins wrote on his election website. “Protecting developers takes priority over environmental concerns and existing legislation for Justice Sanders.”
Sanders, who in his 15 years on the state’s highest bench, has made several decisions to open government records, said on his campaign website that he is a champion of freedom.
“We have no second class citizens,” Sanders said on his website. He also quoted the Washington Constitution, noting “governments … are established to protect and maintain individual rights.”
• Richard B. Sanders , 65
Bio: Sanders was born in Tacoma, grew up in Seattle and attended the University of Washington. He earned his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 1969. He worked 26 years as an attorney before he was elected in 1995 to the Washington Supreme Court. Website: www.friendsofjustice.com
Notable: Sanders considers it a privilege to officiate weddings, including a cowboy wedding in a cow pasture on Vashon Island. “Since coming to the court I’ve married dozens of women, but they always go home with somebody else – their groom.”
• Charlie K. Wiggins , 63
Bio: The son of an Army warrant officer, Wiggins attended schools in two states and Venezuela before attending college at Princeton University. He then spent four years in the Army Military Intelligence Corps and later earned his law degree in 1976 from Duke Law School. He worked as an attorney in the Seattle area and in 1995 was appointed to the Division II Court of Appeals, but he lost his position during the next election. Website: www. charliewigginsforjustice.com
Notable: Serves on the Washington State Bar Rules Committee and the Disciplinary Board.