IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION: The leader article published on 10/10/18 misquoted the fact that 1000 law professors submitted a letter to the Senate condemning Justice Kavanaugh's demeanor while testifying at his confirmation hearing. I relayed that the letter said he was unfit...the Leader printed fit. There will be a front page retraction on 10/17/2018.
Here are a few points for your consideration regarding my qualifications vs. my opponent.
- I have over 7 years of experience on the bench in 4 different courts. Jefferson District and Superior Court and Kitsap and Clallam Counties. My opponent has less than a year in Kitsap County presiding on a docket that is very different from Jefferson County. That is a multi court Jurisdiction with no active probation.
- I have presided over both civil and criminal trials in both Superior and District Court. My opponent has no trial experience as a Judge. This is a critical distinction because being able to rule on an evidentiary matter during trial is a critical function of a trial Judge and very different from a lawyer's job in advocating for only one side.
- Until very recently I was the only candidate to have attended our Mental Health Court, and preside over it, attend the graduation of the participants, and work on its budget. I have also presided over Drug Court and Juvenile Top Side Court.
- I have attended Judicial College twice as required by our Supreme Court when I agreed to be Commissioner in District and Superior Court. These intensive week long classes teach best practice, and I am one of a small percentage of Judges that have attended both a District Court tract and Superior Court tract. I have also attended many judicial conferences over the years. My opponent has no formal judicial training.
- I was asked to serve by Judge Landes and Judge Verser and I agreed to do this service for my community.
- I am the only candidate to have been the lead counsel on ALL of my trials. There is a huge difference between second chairing a trial or sharing the responsibility of trial and handling all aspects of a trial from start to finish. A measure of experience is not just how many trials you have had but what you did in those trials.
- I am the only candidate to have handled all aspects of litigation and running a law firm from the very first day i became a lawyer. There is a completely different sense of responsibility to running a firm to being someone else's associate and having to do what they tell you. My firm has handled complex civil, criminal, landlord tenant, dependency, family law, traffic cases, and personal injury. I have worked hard to be proficient in all these areas of law, so much so that I have not had to travel out of Jefferson County to get business. See #8 below.
- While I have had cases as an attorney in Jefferson, Mason, Kitsap, Island, Clallam, and Snohomish County that experience does not compare to actual time on the bench in our Court. I have appreciated and learned how different Courts have different policies, but there is only so much you can learn from sitting in Court waiting for your clients case to be called. My opponent touts experience in 11 counties. Why travel out of Jefferson if you don't have to?
- I believe that the support of the attorneys you work with, fight with, and handle cases with is a critical measure of the quality of an attorney's qualifications to be Judge. I have the vast majority of the endorsements of the prosecutors, defense attorneys and local attorneys.
- I have the endorsement of all three of the attorneys who my opponent used to work for and with at Knauss and Seaman.
- I have the endorsement of the Judge on Bainbridge Island that my opponent pro-tems for.
- Who better to measure a candidate for Judge then Judges themselves. I have the endorsements of 30 Judges throughout the state including our current Judge, our former Judge, our Superior Court Commissioner, and Supreme Court Justice Owens. I am the only candidate with local judge endorsements.
- I have the overwhelming support of the law enforcement community. As a defense attorney for the last 14 years this should speak volumes about my ethics, my ability to follow the law and sentence appropriately. They are members of your community that serve and protect and their support is an honor.
- I have the unprecedented unanimous support of the District Court Staff. This may be my proudest endorsement. The 8 employees there have over 117 years of experience. Some have been employed there 22 years under 3 different Judges and they feel so strongly about my candidacy that they have decided to endorse publicly. They see and hear everything in that Court and in case your wondering neither Judge Landes or myself asked or even expected this public support.
- I have been connected to this community for almost 30 years as a Port Townsend High School graduate. I am the only candidate who has over a decade of community service as a Mock Trial mentor and advisor. I am the longest serving board member of the Jefferson County YMCA and its President. I have also helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars for youth organizations throughout Jefferson County.
- I am the only candidate who has been willing to be appointed as a public attorney for criminal cases and dependency cases (where CPS intervenes for the safety of the children) as long as I have been an attoney in Jefferson County. This commitment to public defense will carry through to my time on the bench. Public Defenders are a critical part of a healthy Court system.
- I am the only candidate that has prosecutorial experience. I was a prosecutor in Jefferson, Kitsap and Poulsbo Municipal Court very early in my career as an intern. I charged cases, tried cases (and won), negotiated plea deals, and appeared in Court daily.
- My opponent touts paying Clallam County to take Jefferson Cases on the west end as a good idea for defendants who have trouble making it to Court. While this may be feasible the devil is always in the details. How many defendants are there that have trouble getting to our court? How much will the Clallam Court, the Clallam Prosecutors Office, and the Clallam Public Defenders want as compensation? Why only West End Defendants? What about those that come from all over the state to our great county that have a hard time making it back to Court for whatever their reason. It makes more practical sense to try to accommodate transportation issues with continuances, and understanding and upgrades to technology.
- My opponent touts writing memorandums of opinion in all evidentiary rulings as best practice. I have been to Judicial College twice where they teach best practice. This is not best practice. This may sound like a good idea, but there is a reason this that the vast majority of Judges don't. (I actually don't know a Judge that does this, but there might be one out there). District Court is a high volume Court and written opinions do not affect the appellate rights of a defendant. To pledge to write one in every case is setting a standard not required by our Supreme Court and not followed by the vast majority of Judges. I am not opposed to writing them when the situation dictates, or one of the attorneys requests my decision in writing. They can be helpful to the attorney's so that they can see your reasoning for the next case.
Here are some of the issues I wish to highlight during my campaign.
Restorative Justice to affect positive change for those who need it.
Accountability for those who break the law and refuse to change.
Give back to the community via community service sentencing for appropriate individuals.
Modernize the Court by going paperless, thus reducing our carbon footprint and saving taxpayers money.
Continue to support Mental Health Court and other Therapeutic Courts.
Advocate for opioid treatment and substance abuse prevention in our community and our jail.
Ensuring victims rights are respected and their voices heard.
PORT TOWNSEND – Noah Harrison is running for District Court Judge in Jefferson County. “I believe my experiences in front of the bench as a litigator, and on the bench as a Judge, will serve the interest of the residents of Jefferson County well. My many years of judicial experience will allow me to hit the ground running from day one. I am, and will always be grateful to the many Judges that have entrusted me to ensure justice is administered fairly and appropriately in their courtrooms.”
Harrison opened his law practice in Port Townsend in 2005 after working in the Kitsap and Jefferson County prosecutor’s offices. Harrison continues to help the residents of Jefferson County with a wide variety of Criminal and Civil litigation. He begins his candidacy as the current Jefferson County District Court Commissioner and Judge Pro-Tem, as well as Clallam County District Court Judge Pro-Tem, Kitsap County Judge Pro-Tem and a former Jefferson County Superior Court Commissioner. Harrison returned to Port Townsend in 2006 after graduating from Port Townsend High School’s class of 1992.
Harrison was appointed District Court Judge Pro-Tem in 2010 and the District Court Commissioner in 2015. Harrison also served as Jefferson County Superior Court Commissioner under the late Judge Craddock Verser in 2011. In those roles, he presided over civil and criminal calendars and trials as well as Mental Health court, Drug Court and juvenile matters. In addition to his monthly regular District Court calendar, Harrison also substitutes in when Judge Landes is unavailable or unable to hear a case. Harrison’s breadth of experience and knowledge as an attorney has translated to a firm but fair demeanor on the bench.
“I have enjoyed working with and helping the residents of Jefferson County for over a decade. I look forward to continuing my time on the bench in District Court and supporting the success of Mental Health Court that retiring Judge Landes has instituted. I firmly believe that District Court can be a rehabilitative Court, and Mental Health Court is one of those programs that I intend to continue to support. If elected, I plan to modernize the Court by transitioning to an electronic filing system that will save taxpayer money and reduce the Court’s carbon footprint.”
Harrison’s public service includes current President and longest serving member of the Jefferson County YMCA advisory board and board member of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA. Harrison is as an advisor to the Port Townsend YMCA mock trial team and is a past participant. He has also enjoyed helping to raise tens of thousands of dollars for a variety of causes as an auctioneer and volunteer for various organizations including the Port Townsend Education Foundation, Port Townsend Playschool Co-Op, and YMCA.
Harrison lives in Port Townsend with his wife, Caitlin Harrison and their three daughters. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and his Law Degree from Seattle University School of Law. Harrison is also a two time attendee and graduate of the Washington State Judicial College.