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Monday, September 21, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County District Court, Position 6 race

Local defense attorney Timothy S. Note is challenging one-term incumbent Judge Debra R. Hayes in the District Court’s only contested race this year. The challenger’s campaign has raised questions about how much time Hayes spends on the job.

Hayes insists she works all her required hours but acknowledges there’s been a perception in the past about some District Court judges not working full days. Hayes said she remembers as a prosecutor how it was often difficult to find a judge in the afternoons.

The race is nonpartisan. District Court judges preside over traffic infractions, misdemeanor criminal offenses and certain civil cases in what’s often referred to as “small claims court.” As of Sept. 30, campaign finance records show Note had more than tripled the contributions given to Hayes, $21,931 to $6,560. The position pays $141,710 a year, plus health care benefits and six weeks of paid vacation.

• Debra R. Hayes , 54

Bio: Hayes was born and raised in the Spokane area. She worked full time to pay her way through Eastern Washington University and Gonzaga University School of Law while a single mother of six. She graduated law school in 1999 and was hired in 2000 by the Spokane County prosecutor’s office. She was elected judge in 2006, defeating incumbent Harvey Dunham in the primary and local attorney Mike Nelson in the general election.

Campaign promises: “I am committed to be a fair and impartial judge. That is the philosophy I hold and one I live by.” Website:

Notable: Hayes lost an adult son to a drug overdose in 2008. “I used to be more black and white. I didn’t really understand the heart and soul of an addict. It’s made me a better judge,” she said. “Although I don’t get to participate in Drug Court, I tell everyone this is the best shot you have got if they are arrested with possession.”

• Timothy S. Note , 35

Bio: Born and raised in Eugene, Ore. Attended University of Montana and Oregon State University. He graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2003 and began practicing as an attorney in 2004 with the the law office of David R. Hearrean before opening his own law office in 2008. As a defense attorney, Note handles felonies, misdemeanors, civil infractions and administrative hearings. Married, one child.

Campaign promises: “As a judge I will be a steward of the public’s money and honor the public trust placed in me by bringing an impeccable work ethic and legal skills to the bench every day on time.” Website:

Notable: “I believe my most significant professional accomplishment is that I have been a winning criminal defense trial attorney, representing my clients while earning the respect of my peers and my adversaries,” he told the Spokane County Bar Association. “I take the greatest satisfaction from former clients, who thank me for saving or changing their lives.”

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