State Supreme court candidate visits peninsula


Sequim Gazette staff

King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Hilyer, a candidate for the state Supreme Court, stopped by Sequim on May 18 after attending a Law Day luncheon in Port Angeles.


While his plane sat on the tarmac of the Sequim Valley Airport, Hilyer recounted his 20 years of law experience and 12 years as a judge in the state’s largest Superior Court.


“When you’re a lawyer, you don’t really have to listen,” Hilyer, 61, said. “You’re there to advocate. As a judge, you have to listen and have the courage to make decisions.”


Hilyer is one of four candidates for the ninth justice position in the Washington State Supreme Court. The other three are Sheryl Gordon McCloud, a Kitsap County resident specializing in appellate cases; Richard B. Sanders, who served as a Supreme Court judge from 1995 until 2010, when he was narrowly defeated; and John W. Ladenburg, former Pierce County prosecutor and county executive.


Hilyer graduated from the University of Washington law school and worked as a King County criminal deputy prosecutor before serving as Mayor Charles Royer’s legal counsel in 1982. In 1985, he began private practice in a small firm; in 1988 he moved to work on complex civil litigation at Culp, Gutterson and Grader. In 1994, he opened his own firm, practicing civil law.


Appointed to the King County Superior Court by Gov. Gary Locke in 2000, Hilyer served as presiding judge from 2008-2011, during the most severe budget crisis in modern King County history.


The state Supreme Court, which has nine judges, offers a different experience from trial courts, Hilyer said, and he would enjoy the intellectual challenge and opportunity to make decisions with other judges.


Serving as a Supreme Court justice would allow him to do something more enduring, he said.


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