I grew up in Seattle. I graduated from Garfield High School in 1965, the University of Washington in 1973, and Santa Clara University law school in 1976. I served in the Washington State legislature from 1987 to 2000 (eight years in the House, six in the Senate). I was appointed to be a King County Superior Court judge by Governor Gary Locke in 2000. I retired from the bench in 2013 and co-founded Judges for Justice with Judge Peter Deegan (Ret.) of Michigan.
Each of us is the sum of our life experiences. Growing up I was active in Boy Scouts, sports and church. I fashioned myself as all about duty, honor, God and country.
I dropped out of college in 1967 and joined the US Army. Twenty months later, April 1969, I was a 22- year-old second lieutenant with the First Cavalry Division in Vietnam. I received a few awards, including a Bronze Star. I was honorably discharged in 1970.
Two of my friends from growing up in Seattle, Terry Lomen and Donnie McNeil, had been killed in Vietnam. In 1971, back in college, their deaths hit me hard. I started to question the wisdom of the war and the decisions of our government. These exceptional young men would never participate in or contribute to our society. They were lost forever. This was a profound realization to me. Sometimes the government is wrong, grievously wrong.
Sometimes prosecutors, police and juries get it wrong, grievously wrong. That’s the bad news. The good news is that most people are of good will and will not abide injustice if they know the truth. Judges for Justice works to shine the light of truth into a community where a shocking crime has occurred to help correct the error of a wrongful conviction.
It is a daunting task to undo a wrongful conviction. We are sustained in the faith that the truth will eventually prevail. The innocent person will be set free.
No one person or organization is solely responsible for getting an innocent person out of prison. It takes a bucket brigade. Key members of our Judges for Justice bucket brigade are listed below.
We are extremely grateful to all of our supporters whose number extends well beyond our ability to mention here. Many of you have been involved for years. Each of you is an important member of our bucket brigade. Stay in touch. Thank you, thank you, thank you.