Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the appointment of Johanna Bender to the King County Superior Court. Bender will replace Judge Carol A. Schapira, who has served on the King County Superior Court bench since 1989. Bender is currently a King County District Court judge and is a governor-appointed trustee of the Legal Foundation of Washington.
“Johanna has an impressive resume and strong commitment to social justice,” Inslee said. “Johanna knows what it takes to be a fair and effective judge. I am confident she will excel in this role and I am pleased to appoint her.”
Prior to her current role as a King County District Court Judge, Bender was a judge pro tempore for King County Superior Court and King and Thurston County District Courts across the region. She was a staff attorney at The Defender Association after law school where she represented indigent adult and juvenile criminal defendants. Bender then served as a law clerk to Judge Marsha J. Pechman of the Western District of the United States District Court. Bender received her juris doctorate from the University of Washington and her bachelor’s degree from Brown University.
Bender has been on the Washington State Bar Association’s Access to Justice Board and was involved with Legal Voice for over a decade as a board member and chair of the organization’s Legal Committee, among other roles. In 2004 Bender was a plaintiff in the case against Washington state’s then prohibition of same sex marriage.
During the judicial evaluation process, Bender received the highest rating of “Exceptionally Well Qualified” by the King County Bar Association, the Washington Women Lawyers, the Joint Asian Judicial Evaluation Committee, the Latina/o Bar Association, QLaw, and the Loren Miller Bar Association.
Bender’s term is effective beginning in November.