Superior Court judges will be decided in primary

3:54 pm July 25th, 2012

The primary election Aug. 7 has more meaning for candidates for Pierce County Superior Court judge than any other races for county offices.

The results of the primary will decide the winners in five contested races for judge. The court contests are different than those for other offices, such as County Council. Instead of sending the top two finishers to the general election in November for a runoff, judges will be elected in the primary one of two ways:

• Positions with two or more candidates are on the ballot. The winner will emerge from all-mail voting that ends on election day.

• Positions with only only one candidate won’t appear on the ballot, as those candidates will be considered elected.

Awaiting the voters’ decision are the 10 candidate for five contested positions – John (Jack) Hill versus incumbent Vicki Hogan, Judge Bev Grant against Jerry Costello, Antoni Froehling versus Stephanie Arend, James Schoenberger against Judge Kathryn Nelson, and Helen Whitener versus Stan Rumbaugh.

Superior Court judges are paid approximately $150,000 a year and preside over criminal cases and civil lawsuits.

Here’s an overview of the choices facing voters:

Hill vs. Hogan

Jack Hill is a trial attorney who has served as a Superior Court arbitrator and a judge pro tem (substitute judge) for the municipal courts of several cities. In his campaign, he has noted that Hogan ranked low in a survey of lawyers by the Pierce County Bar Association.

Vicki Hogan has been a Superior Court judge for 20 years and before that was a lawyer for 15 years. She claims she has the endorsement of fellow judges, as well as attorneys, law enforcement officers and community leaders.

Contact the candidates: Hill at (253) 318-3336, Hogan at (253) 370-6934

Grant vs. Costello

Bev Grant has served in Superior Court for nine years following 25 years as a private attorney. She puts particular emphasis on court services for military veterans, families, and persons who are developmentally disabled, mentally ill or addicted to drugs.

Jerry Costello has been a deputy prosecutor for the county for 23 years (Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist is among his supporters) and has been a judge pro tem in Pierce County District Court. He contends Grant is a low-rated judge.

Contact the candidates: Grant at (253) 237-4664, and, Costello at (253) 686-4428 and

Froehling vs. Arend

Antoni Froehling has been a lawyer for 34 years private practice in Pierce County and served as a municipal court judge pro tem for several cities. He contends he would use his experience to make courtroom appearances more positive for citizens.

Stephanie Arend has been a Superior Court judge for 13 years. As a lawyer, she specialized in environmental and real estate litigation. She points to endorsements from leaders in the legal and general communities. Contact the candidates: Froehling at (253) 208-8494 and, Arend at (253) 306-5882

Schoenberger vs. Nelson

James Schoenberger Jr. hsa 30 years of experience as a lawyer, including time as a federal prosecutor of fraud claims in the financial industry. He promises fairness and impartiality if he’s elected.

Kathryn Nelson has been a Superior Court judge the past 12 years after spending 21 years as a lawyer. She is an advocate for raising public awareness of and improving the legal system. Contact the candidates: Schoenberger at (253) 444-3111, Nelson at (253) 973-8030

Whitener vs. Rumbaugh

G. Helen Whitener has been a judge pro tem in District Court and for Tacoma Municipal Court, and she’s a former deputy prosecutor for Pierce and Island counties. She cites endorsements from retired judges and criminal and civil attorneys.

Stan Rumbaugh, a trial lawyer since 1979, serves on the Bates Technical College board, promises to be a defender of equal justice and respect for the law, and lists U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks and Adam Smith among his endorsements.

Contact the candidates: Whitener at (253) 444-6425, Rumbaugh at (253) 318-4621

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