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Three Eastside candidates vie for Redmond judge position

From left: Rick Leo, Marcus Naylor and Lisa O
From left: Rick Leo, Marcus Naylor and Lisa O'Toole
— image credit: Courtesy Photos

Three candidates are running for King County Northeast District Court Judge Pos. 3 in Redmond.

Judge Linda Jacke, who currently holds the position, will be retiring at the end of this term after serving for more than 20 years.

The three candidates are Rick Leo of Snoqualmie, Marcus Naylor of Sammamish and Lisa O’Toole of Newcastle.

RICK LEO

Leo was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. and always knew he was interested in law.

After receiving a bachelor’s and master’s degree in criminal justice from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany, he attended the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Having been on the East Coast his entire life up till then, Leo decided to come out to the Pacific Northwest after law school.

He loved it here and has never left.

“My whole legal career has been in the state of Washington,” Leo said.

He worked as an attorney for 16 years in various positions, spending time in the state prosecutor’s office as well as working as a public defender and private defense lawyer. In addition, Leo had his own criminal defense practice for six years.

When he opened his own practice, Leo said judges would ask him from time to time to fill in for them as a judge pro tem when they went on vacation or were sick. While becoming a judge was never part of Leo’s original plan, he stepped in because he thought it would help him do his job better.

“This will just make me a better attorney for my clients,” he said about his thoughts at the time.

But as time went on, he found himself enjoying being a judge and helping people resolve their issues. Leo also enjoyed the variety of the position.

“Every day is different,” he said.

When he heard about Jacke’s position opening, Leo saw it as an opportunity to give more back to the community.

“The district courts are the people’s court,” he said. “You really, as a judge, can have an effect.”

When Leo decided in April 2013 to run for the judge position, he closed his private practice to focus on being a judge pro tem and his campaign.

While Leo has never worked as a civil attorney, he said he has sat down with civil attorneys and judges who have presided over civil cases. Leo has also worked on civil cases as a judge pro tem.

Leo said his well-rounded experience will be beneficial to him as a judge.

Leo has been married to his wife Nicole for two years. Together, they have a 10-month-old son.

MARCUS NAYLOR

Naylor was born in South Korea and adopted by a family in Minnesota at the age of 9.

He moved to the Pacific Northwest about 30 years ago to work and attend Trinity Lutheran College in Everett and then the Seattle University School of Law.

Naylor said he ended up staying here because he enjoyed the luxury of being near the mountains as well as the sea.

“I really enjoy the outdoor lifestyle,” he said, adding that he also likes that people in this area are very open minded.

Naylor has worked as an attorney for 22 years and all of it for King County. He said has worked in all of the courts — district, superior and juvenile. During his time with the county, Naylor has been a staff attorney for the Seattle Municipal, Seattle District, King County Juvenile and King County Superior courts. He has also been the supervising attorney for the felony, juvenile and district court units as well as the managing attorney for the Northwest Defenders Division (NDD) of King County’s Department of Public Defense. Naylor currently supervises seven attorneys in the Seattle Municipal Court. Naylor has also logged more than 100 hours of felony and misdemeanor jury trial experience.

In addition, he has worked as a judge pro tem for the past two years because he knew he wanted to become a judge, saying being a judge is another example of the commitment to public service he learned at a  young age.

Naylor said his experience working in the various parts of the legal system, as well as his own life experiences, allows him to be compassionate when listening to people’s cases.

“I’ve been in their shoes,” he said.

Naylor and his wife Simona have two children — a daughter who just graduated from high school and a son who is in the first grade.

LISA O’TOOLE

Lisa O’Toole was born and raised in the Tri-Cities in Eastern Washington — specifically Richland.

She attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, majoring in economics and then went to the University of Puget Sound School of Law, which is now the Seattle University School of Law.

O’Toole became interested in the law as a result of an older brother and family friends who were lawyers.

“It seemed like fascinating work,” she said, adding that the variety of being able to work as a civil litigator, public defender, in-house counsel, judge and more was what drew her to the profession.

O’Toole has practiced law for 27 years. She has worked as a deputy prosecuting attorney for King County and a civil attorney in private practice.

During the past six years, she has been a judge pro tem for the King County District Court. She has been doing this full-time for the past three years. O’Toole said she left her private practice to focus on her work as a judge. Being a judge pro tem, has taken O’Toole all over the county.

“I’ve been literally in every court house,” she said.

O’Toole first became interested in joining the bench when she saw colleagues doing so.

“They loved it,” she said. “They loved the work.”

In addition, as she worked with more judges over time and getting to know them and their work, she began thinking that the bench was the right place for her.

O’Toole said her breadth of legal experience, which includes criminal and civil law is what will make her a good judge.

“It really does matter,” she said about having experience in both fields.

O’Toole and her husband Scott have been married for 25 years. Together, they have an 18-year-old daughter and a 16-year old son.

VOTING INFO

Voters should read and follow directions on their ballots, sign the return envelope and return ballots before Aug. 5. Mailed ballots need a first-class stamp. Voters can drop off ballots at the Redmond Senior Center, 8703 160th Ave. N.E. The box will be open 24 hours and until 8 p.m. Aug. 5.

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