Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the appointments of Kristin Ferrera to the Chelan County Superior Court and J. Michael Diaz to King County Superior Court.
Ferrera replaces Judge Alicia Nakata, who is retiring. Ferrera is currently a partner at Jeffers, Danielson, Sonn & Aylward, P.S. in Wenatchee. Prior to working in private practice, she served as a law clerk with the Tulalip Tribes Office of the Reservation Attorney.
"Kristin has broad experience in employment, family and Indian law, immigration, agriculture and civil rights. I am encouraged by her innovative ideas on how to better administer justice," Inslee said. "She has an in-depth understanding of the issues that impact Central Washington and demonstrates a real commitment to community service."
Ferrera serves on the board of Campaign for Equal Justice and participates in the Chelan-Douglas County Volunteer Attorney Services. She has served on the Chelan-Douglas County Young Lawyers Division Board of Trustees and was named Washington Super Lawyers Rising Star for four years.
Ferrera received her law degree from University of Washington and her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Western Washington University.
J. Michael Diaz’s appointment to King County Superior Court is to replace Judge Richard McDermott, who is retiring.
Diaz is currently an Assistant United States Attorney and is the founding Civil Rights Program coordinator for the Seattle U.S. Attorney's Office, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice. He was honored in 2014 with the DOJ EOUSA Director's Award for extraordinary professional achievements and excellence. He also received the Thomas C. Wales Performance Award, the highest award given at the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division's Distinguished Service Award, both in 2012.
Prior to joining the DOJ in 2008, Diaz was an associate with Yarmuth Wilsdon Calfo PLLC in Seattle and with Fulbright & Jaworski LLP in Houston, Texas.
He is a graduate of Cornell Law School, and has a bachelor's of arts degree from the University of Notre Dame in philosophy and liberal studies.
"Michael's commitment to civil rights through his outstanding legal career and community involvement will make him an excellent addition to the bench," Inslee said. "His unique experiences have prepared him to understand some of the challenges facing individuals in the courtroom."
In 2016, President Obama nominated Diaz to be a U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington. The nomination expired and was returned to the president in January 2017 without Senate action.
Diaz's community service includes volunteering regularly at the King County Bar Association's and El Centro de La Raza's Spanish Legal Clinic, as well as chairing the KCBA's Neighborhood Legal Clinic Advisory Committee. He is a member of the Latino Bar Association of Washington.
Both appointments are effective January 2018.