Zoomin' with the kids!

The King County Superior Court effectively ceased operations in March 2020. I was one of the last attorneys to finalize an adoption in-person. King County Superior Court jury trials are suspended through July 6, 2020. The King County Superior Court has made clear when jury trials resume, the first trials to occur will be criminal matters.

It is the children and youth in foster care whose cases are directly overseen by the King County Superior Court – and who have not seen a judge in months – that most concern me. It is the parents who have been denied visitation with their children, including babies who have not seen, smelled, or touched their mothers in months, for whom I am most concerned. The rise in child abuse and neglect has been soaring during this pandemic while the processes to help these children, and their families, has ground to a halt. 

Our laws have strict timing requirements for children welfare cases – we must move these cases quickly. If elected, I will be the first judge on the King County Superior Court who has managed a caseload of children and youth in foster care. The King County Superior Court needs judges with my experience now. The backlog on dependency and termination trial is staggering.

In family law, only cases involving children in immediate, physical danger have been heard by the King County Superior Court. Unfortunately, some parents have used COVID-19 to deny the other parent visitation. Divorce proceedings have been put on hold with some partners locked into monthly payments they cannot afford, or can no longer afford, yet there has been no judge available to give relief. These are some of my clients – so no one understands better than me how important it is to resolve the COVID-19 backlog in family law matters. Less than ten judges on the King County Superior Court practiced family law before joining the bench, and all family law cases are decided in bench trials without juries, so my family law experience will be critical.

I look forward to getting started on the work to get through the COVID-19 backlog, and to ensure this type of backlog never occurs again. Our system of law depends on it.

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 Friends of Hillary Madsen

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Seattle, WA 98109