To the editor:
I’m a lawyer who practices in Moses Lake (and lives in Soap Lake) who supports Judge David Estudillo.
“Retired Judge Ken Jorgensen had the facts wrong in his recent letter to the editor about Judge Estudillo and his challenger, attorney Nick Wallace. Judge Jorgensen has been retired from the court for nearly eight years, so perhaps he doesn’t have the most current or accurate information.
Judge Jorgensen wrote “Nick Wallace has 20 years of courtroom experience” and current Judge David Estudillo “has virtually none.”
According to information Wallace himself submitted to Grant County when he unsuccessfully applied to be a district court judge in 2011, he had participated in only six trials in his entire career. He was sole or chief counsel in only four of these, and only one was a jury trial.
And at a recent candidate forum, Wallace admitted that he has had limited or no trials in recent years. This hardly amounts to “20 years of courtroom experience.”
Court records also show that Wallace has served the Grant County Court as a “pro tem commissioner”—not a part-time judge—an average of 10 days per year over the past 10 years, and during that time, never presided over a jury trial.
By contrast, during his 16 year career as a lawyer before joining the bench, Judge Estudillo tried 26 cases as sole or chief counsel, two of which were jury trials. Importantly, in the past year, since he was appointed to the bench, Judge Estudillo has presided over six criminal jury trials, including charges of murder, child molestation, theft of firearms, drug possession, and assault.
He regularly presides over civil trials and a full range of evidentiary hearings. Experience does matter, and Judge Estudillo clearly has more of it.