OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced the appointment of Jean Rietschel to the King County Superior Court. Rietschel currently is a Seattle Municipal Court judge.
“Judge Rietschel is a proven leader in innovation and improvement in the courts,” Gregoire said. “She also brings extensive trial experience to this position. That experience, combined with her energy and passion for the law, makes her a perfect fit for Superior Court judge.”
“I am honored to be selected by the Governor to serve the people of King County,” Rietschel said. “I look forward to bringing my commitment to fairness and justice to the Superior Court bench. I will strive to provide each person who enters my courtroom with respect, an opportunity to be heard and a reasoned decision based upon the law.”
Rietschel first joined the Seattle Municipal Court in 1996 after being appointed by Mayor Norm Rice, where she quickly took on leadership roles. In 1998, she began serving on the executive committee and from 2000-2003 she was presiding judge of the court. Judge Rietschel has been involved in a number of initiatives that have taken innovative approaches to particular types of cases, such as establishing a relicensing program, which has substantially reduced the number of people driving without licenses or insurance. She has presided over the Domestic Violence Court, which allows the same judge to handle the same domestic violence cases so they are more familiar with the parties and issues involved.
“Judge Rietschel has worked hard to make the courts efficient while still ensuring that everyone receives due process and a fair hearing,” said Chief Justice Barbara A. Madsen of the Washington Supreme Court. “She is well respected by her fellow judges and I know she will continue to provide outstanding service to the public in her new position on the Superior Court.”
Prior to joining the Seattle Municipal Court, Rietschel represented juveniles in state institutions, worked in the public defender’s office and then opened her own general practice in 1988.
Rietschel currently serves on the board of Seattle Counseling Service, as well as the court rules and legislative committees for the Washington State District and Municipal Court Judges’ Association. She’s a past chair of the Regional Law and Justice Committee of King County and has also served on the Seattle Domestic Violence Council.
Rietschel earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Rochester before attending the University of Washington School of Law. Her appointment is effective June 1, 2010.