Pierce County District Court elects presiding judge

The judges of the Pierce County District Court have elected Maggie Ross as Presiding Judge for the next two years. Judge Ross has served on the District Court bench for 15 years. She began her judicial career as a Commissioner in the Court and served in that capacity from 1997 to 2003, when she was elected Judge. Judge Ross previously served a two-year term as Presiding Judge in 2009 and 2010.

Judge Pat O’Malley, who has served as Presiding Judge the last two years, will serve as Assistant Presiding Judge for the 2013-14 term.

The duties of the Presiding Judge are contained in Rule 29 of the Washington Rules of Court. The Presiding Judge supervises the Court’s personnel, budget, policies and procedures; makes judicial assignments; and manages the business of the court to ensure timely and efficient processing of cases and judicial workload. The Presiding Judge also represents the Court with the other branches of government.

The District Court has approximately 100 employees and a 2013 budget of $12.1 million. It anticipates managing more than 81,000 case filings this year.

The Pierce County District Court’s eight judges hear the following types of cases:

  • Traffic and non-traffic infractions;
  • Criminal and criminal-traffic misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors;
  • Civil matters for damages and contract disputes no greater than $75,000;
  • Civil claims for recovery of up to $5,000;
  • Name changes;
  • Anti-harassment protection orders.


Top row (from left): Franklin L. Dacca, Karla E. Buttorff, Pat O'Malley and Claire Sussman. Bottom row (from left): James R. Heller, Margaret Vail Ross, Judy Rae Jasprica and Jack F. Nevin. (PHOTO COURTESY PIERCE COUNTY)