Clallam County Bar Association rates candidates for judge, prosecuting attorney

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

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By the numbers: Results of Clallam County Bar Association candidates poll

Here are the results of the recent two-part Clallam County Bar Association poll of candidates for Clallam County prosecuting attorney and District Court 1 judge.

Not all the ballots were completely filled out.

The lawyers were asked for their first, second and third choices for District Court 1 judge and prosecuting attorney.

For the Clallam County District Court 1 race:

• Tim Davis received 35 first places, nine seconds and one third out of 45 ballots.

• Rick Porter received nine first places, 10 seconds and 27 thirds out of 46 ballots.

• Pam Lindquist received three first places, 24 seconds and 17 thirds out of 44 ballots.

Polling for the prosecuting attorney race was closer.

• Lauren Erickson received 21 first places, 16 seconds and eight thirds out of 45 ballots.

• Larry Freedman received 19 first places, 19 seconds and six thirds out of 45 ballots.

• Deb Kelly received four first places, 11 seconds and 30 thirds out of 45 ballots.

In the second part of the poll, candidates were evaluated in nine categories.

The scores for each candidate were added and then divided by the number of ballots.

Each candidate was ranked in each category on a scale of one to five.

Five was excellent, four was good, three was adequate, two was poor, one was deficient.

The total number of points received by each candidate was divided into the number of ballots for a score in each category.

Here are the individual scores for prosecuting attorney:

• Temperament: Freedman, 3.77; Erickson, 3.59; Kelly, 2.85.

• Demeanor: Freedman, 3.79; Erickson, 3.46; Kelly, 2.82.

• Legal ability: Freedman, 3.92; Erickson, 3.54; Kelly 3.03.

• Administrative ability: Freedman, 3.31; Erickson, 3.21; Kelly, 1.56.

• Organization: Freedman, 3.44; Erickson, 3.13; Kelly, 1.97.

• Work habits: Freedman, 3.44; Erickson, 3.31; Kelly, 2.87.

• Experience: Freedman, 3.97; Erickson, 3.87; Kelly, 3.59.

• Objectivity/impartiality: Erickson, 3.36; Freedman, 3.33; Kelly, 2.05.

• Judgment/common sense: Freedman, 3.49; Erickson, 3.46; Kelly, 1.95.

Here are the individual scores, in order of rank, for the District Court 1 race:

• Temperament: Davis, 4.17; Lindquist, 3.20; Porter, 1.78.

• Demeanor: Davis, 4.17; Lindquist, 2.85; Porter, 1.88.

• Legal ability: Davis, 3.90; Lindquist, 2.59; Porter, 2.32.

• Administrative ability: Davis, 3.59; Porter, 2.73; Lindquist, 2.37.

• Organization: Davis, 3.85; Porter, 2.98; Lindquist 2.29.

• Work habits: Davis, 4.07; Porter, 2.76; Lindquist, 2.59.

• Experience: Davis, 3.59; Porter, 2.80; Lindquist, 2.34.

• Objectivity/impartiality: Davis, 4.22; Lindquist, 3.00; Porter, 1.78.

• Judgment/common sense: Davis, 4.15; Lindquist, 2.73; Porter, 1.88.
PORT ANGELES -- Clallam County lawyers who participated in the county bar association's recent primary election poll chose District Court 1 candidate Tim Davis and Democratic prosecuting attorney candidate Lauren Erickson as their top choices for the positions.

Democratic prosecuting attorney candidate Larry Freedman was a close second for that race and incumbent Republican Deb Kelly was third.

For the judge position, incumbent Rick Porter was second and challenger Pam Lindquist, a Port Angeles lawyer, was third.

Ballots were sent to all 71 dues-paying members of the Clallam County Bar Association, said William Payne, association president.

Forty-eight prosecutor and 50 judicial polls were returned.

There are 142 lawyers in Clallam County, according to the association.

In the two-part poll, candidates were evaluated on temperament, demeanor, legal ability, administrative ability, organization, work habits, experience, objectivity/impartiality and judgment/common sense.

Candidates were rated from one to five in each category and the total score was divided into the number of ballots

In this part of the poll, Davis, an assistant attorney general in Port Angeles, and Freedman, a Sequim lawyer, received the highest scores in more categories than their opponents.

More than 45,000 primary election ballots were mailed to voters Wednesday and must be returned by Aug. 17.

In the judicial race, which is non-partisan, a candidate who receives more than 50 percent wins the position; otherwise, the two candidates with the most votes will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.

In the prosecuting attorney contest, which is partisan, the primary election will narrow the Nov. 2 choices to two. The candidates who receive the highest numbers of votes will, regardless of party affiliation, proceed to the general election.

The bar association conducted candidate forums June 18 for prosecuting attorney and July 17 for judge.

Erickson, a Port Angeles lawyer and administrative law judge, said she was "pleased" with the poll's outcome.

"The results say overall I have the most experience and that overall I am the most qualified for the job," she said.

But Porter and Kelly had different takes.

"Unlike my opponents, I believe it is a clear conflict of interest for a judge to pander to the bar, and I will never do so," Porter said in an e-mail to the Peninsula Daily News.

"I pride myself on being an independent judge."

Said Kelly: "I do not expect defense attorneys to be happy with me.

"I think the general public is quite different than the defense attorneys and local civil attorneys," she added.

"I expect independent voters will make up their minds on who the best candidate is."

Freedman said many lawyers don't know him and he doesn't know them.

He said it was "strange" that he finished with the highest score in eight of the nine categories.

"I don't understand their thinking, but that's what it is," he said, adding that one thing that is clear is, "Kelly is not very well liked by the bar and Erickson and I seem to be much better liked than she."

The poll "could provide good insight," Lindquist said.

"I appreciated the time they took to do that kind of ranking."

Payne, the bar association president, is a Port Angeles lawyer and a former deputy prosecuting attorney.

He quit the prosecuting attorney office last August on his own volition after working for Kelly for a year, he said, declining to comment on why he resigned.

Payne said those polled also included lawyers who work in the prosecuting attorney's office along with lawyers who are not criminal defense attorneys.

The poll results were "blind," meaning the polls was mailed to specific lawyers but returned anonymously, Payne said.

"I can tell you from the names of the people that got the poll that the majority of them are not criminal defense attorneys. They are civil attorneys," Payne said.

"They have knowledge of the workings of that office just by being in the community of lawyers."

The bar association has been polling its members on judicial and prosecuting attorney candidates since at least since about 1990, Payne said.

He said the public should care what lawyers think about who's running for prosecuting attorney and district court judge.

"They know of the inner workings of the legal system enough that they should provide their analysis on each candidate to the public," he said.

Only dues-paying members were allowed to participate.

Not all ballots were completely filled out, Payne said.

"Most of the ballots were completed," he said.

"Most of the ballots had a ranking where the put the numbers on there [to rank their top choices], and most of the ballots had where they did the criteria. There were very few ballots where they didn't do that."


Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-417-3536 or at

Last modified: August 01. 2010 1:12AM
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