Susan Keers Serko was sworn in Friday as Pierce County Superior Court Department 14 judge. Appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire to fill the position vacated by Judge Bruce Cohoe’s retirement, Serko was presented to the court by Judge Marywave Van Deren of the Washington State Court of Appeals Division II. Van Deren said the governor hit an “out of the park home run” in appointing Serko to the bench. The oath of office was administered by U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Kelley Arnold of the Western District of Washington.
Judge Serko, who has been on the job for two weeks, said becoming a judge has been a humbling and educational experience. “What a responsibility – One cannot understand what it means to sit in this seat, to wear these robes, to be called judge until it really happens.
In my short tenure I have had to deal with TV cameras in the courtroom, with a defendant threaten to get a gun and kill me, with legal issues and with procedures with which I am not yet familiar – and that was just the first three days,” she said.
“Those who know me know that what you see is what you get. I have no agenda other than to ensure that everyone who comes before me is treated with dignity and respect and is given an opportunity to be heard,” she said.
The new jurist thanked those who had a part in her becoming a judge, including Gov. Gregoire, who made the appointment, and the governor’s legal counsel for gracious and courteous treatment; the Superior Court bench; former law partners Bill Rush, Dan Hannula, Vern Harkins, Dan Kyler and Tad Dodge; former Superior Court judges Robert Peterson, Donald
Thompson, J. Kelley Arnold, Bruce Cohoe, and the late Tom Sauriol; women jurists including Justice Mary Fairhurst, Judge Van Deren and Judge Vicki Hogan; and Art Wang and other colleagues at the Office of Administrative Hearings during the past five years. She recognized Candy Augustin, her judicial assistant with whom she has worked for the past 16 years, and her family “without whose love and support I could not have gotten to this position.”
Judge Serko chose as speakers for the ceremony former law partner Kyler and Margo T. Keller of the Washington Arbitration & Mediation Service.