Longtime defense attorney Jeff Swan has announced his candidacy for a Yakima County Superior Court judge position held by Doug Federspiel.
Swan, 50, says the court needs more interpreters, facilitators and more emphasis on therapeutic courts, such as DUI and mental health courts. He sees hope in possibly moving forward with a gang court.
Swan said he had more ideas he’s not ready to divulge.
“I like to represent people through the process and the system but I see areas that need to be changed and I can only do so much as an attorney,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “We need to make sure we have enough support services for what we’re doing.”
Swan said he’s thought about making a run at Federspiel’s post since last May.
“It’s a big project and I wanted to make sure I took it seriously,” he said.
The filing period for the next election is May 11-15.
Yakima County has eight Superior Court judges serving four-year terms.
Federspiel is serving his second term. He was the only judge on the eight-member bench to face an opponent in 2016. He defeated Sunnyside attorney Alex Newhouse in that election.
Swan has spent nearly 25 years working in Yakima County’s Office of Assigned Council, which provides defense to the indigent. He’s spent about half his tenure as a supervisor in the adult felony division with the past two years supervising attorneys in the juvenile felony division.
Swan said he was drawn to law by the legal system’s design to uphold people’s rights and liberties under the Constitution, according to a news release announcing his candidacy.
“As judge for Yakima County Superior Court, I plan to continue seeking justice in every court case, while improving our local legal system by investing in alternative programs, streamlining procedures, and ensuring access to our court for everyone,” Swan said in the release.
He says his experience as a defense attorney would bring a fresh approach to the bench.
“I’m delivering a perspective that nobody else really has with the work I have done,” he said.