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Presiding Judge Frank E. Cuthbertson

Latest News

New Jury Scams

We will never ask for your social security number, bank or credit card information, or ask for money over the phone.


Beginning September 1st, 2015, attorneys interested in applying to be on the 2016 Pro Tem Judge/Settlement Mediator panel can pick up applications in Superior Court Administration, Room 334. The application will also be available on the Superior Court Website; www.co.pierce.wa.us/superior/employment. Applications must be returned and date stamped to Superior Court Administration, Room 334, no later than 4:30 pm on October 30th, 2015.
2015 Pierce County Local Rules (PCLR)

2015 PCLR effective September 1st, 2015.  CLICK HERE to view and download the Adobe PDF version. 

Please note the following change:

 PLCMAR 2 TRANSFER TO ARBITRATION AND ASSIGNMENT OF ARBITRATOR 2.1 Transfer to Arbitration (a) Statement of Arbitrability. This local rule change requires that the Note for Arbitration be filed only after the confirmation of joinder is filed and before the discovery cutoff date.



Beginning August 1, 2015, attorneys interested in applying for the 2016 Superior Court Pro Tem Commissioner List can pick up applications in Superior Court Administration, Room 334 or Commissioners Services Department, Room 140 at the County-City Building or may obtain them from Superior Court website; www.co.pierce.wa.us/superior/employment Applications must be returned to Superior Court Administration, Room 334, no later than 4:30 P.M. September 30, 2015.

An applicant must have a minimum of five years experience in the State of Washington and may not serve as a pro tem commissioner if appointed or serving as a Guardian Ad Litem for compensation under Title 11, 13 or 26. 

Governor Appoints Michael Schwartz to Pierce County Superior Court Department 3

Governor Inslee announced last night that he has appointed Michael Schwartz to the Pierce County Superior Court replacing Judge Tom Larkin who retires at the end of July.  Michael Schwartz has over twenty two years experience as a defense trial attorney.  He among a select group of attorneys who have been qualified to handle death penalty cases in Washington.  He has also served in the military and, prior to becoming an attorney, he was a commissioned police officer in Hawaii.  Michael Schwartz is active in the community coaching youth sports and he has served as President of the Robert Bryan Inns of Court.   He also currently co-chairs the Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section.  Michael will be a great addition to the Superior Court.  He brings a unique perspective to the bench and is well respected by the lawyers and judges in Pierce County.  Please join Superior Court in welcoming our new Judge, Michael Schwartz.

Additional information is available in Governor Inslee’s press release on the governor’s web site.


Superior Court Judges, Commissioners, and Spouses help build local housing.
Habitat for Humanity

On June 6th several judges, commissioners and their spouses helped with the construction of two homes at a Habitat build site.  They will have another opportunity in September to make this meaningful impact in our community.


Judge Whitener will visit Trinidad to promote human rights and tolerance.
Judge Whitener

Judge Helen Whitener will visit Trinidad from June 14-17 as part of the U.S. Embassy’s celebration of June as National Caribbean-American Heritage and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride (LGBT) months.

Judge Whitener was born in St. Augustine and migrated to the U.S.A. at age 16. She now sits on the Pierce County Superior Court, (the highest trial court in the State of Washington). She is the youngest woman of color to serve in such a position and is openly gay. Her visit is meant to promote human rights and tolerance. She will hold meetings with government officials, women’s groups and members of the LGBT community. Judge Whitener will also give a talk at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine on June 16 at 2:00 p.m.

Judge Whitener gives much of her time to speaking on various access to justice matters and is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, Washington State Superior Court Judges Association, Equality and Fairness Committee, National Association of Women Judges and the International Association of Women Judges.

She was featured in the local Express Women’s magazine in April.

New Jury Scams

Judge warns of phony payment demands for missed jury duty.
View the full article here
Clark County is reporting a jury scam via telephone that requires the resident to pay a fine and then show up to court on a specific date for a refund.  We will never request money over the phone.
View the full article

Kitsap County Jury Scam Advisory
For more details about Snohomish County
Juror Scams around the country



 Myths and Misperceptions about Courts
Do you wonder who the courts work for? Who can give you legal advice? To find out the answer to these and other questions check out this video - Myths and Misperceptions About the Washington Courts.

Juror Appreciation Week

New Criminal Division Presiding Judge (CDPJ) Protocols

New Mandatory Impact on Children Seminar Offered for Non-Parental Custody Petitioners

Changes to Ex Parte Procedure

Archived Superior Court News 

Bar News