LFP bids farewell to Judge Linda Portnoy after 23 years on the bench

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Judge Linda Portnoy retiring
from LFP bench
Judge Linda Portnoy has served as the presiding judge for Lake Forest Park Municipal Court since 1998, overseeing the operations and growth of the Court and creating one of the outstanding municipal courts in Washington. 

She retires on December 31, 2021 leaving behind a legacy of innovation and commitment to public service. For Judge Portnoy, the role of judge included reaching beyond the courtroom to improve access to justice for everyone impacted by the criminal justice system. 

In 2001, she started the Shoreline Lake Forest Park Youth Court, which is one of the longest running traffic youth courts in Washington. Through her involvement with the LFP Rotary, she helped found the Roger Bouck Rotacare Free Clinic in Lake City. 

When Judge Portnoy observed the ravages of the opioid crises firsthand in her court, she organized an evening educational program at Third Place Commons so people could better understand this addiction. She also enjoyed welcoming third grade students to her courtroom for their mock trials.

Judge Portnoy strived to incorporate innovative programs into the traditional courtroom to address challenging issues. Those included: “staggered sentencing,” a program targeting recidivist drunk drivers; a pretrial release program creating alternatives to bail; and a probation program incorporating social work and vocational counseling services into traditional court supervision. 

In 2013, Judge Portnoy created an award-winning program called TEC-Hearings, providing for traffic infraction hearings fully through the Court’s website and saving thousands of people a trip to court.

Judge Portnoy also worked to improve the justice system in Washington, serving on the statewide pattern forms and court rules committees, Council on Independent Courts and terms on the District and Municipal Court Judges Association (DMCJA) Board and the State Board for Judicial Administration. 

In 2018 she received the DMCJA Presidential Award. Judge Portnoy is proud of her work as a member of a 2011-2013 statewide task force on domestic violence where she worked on the passage of several laws aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence.

She was a featured teacher at the Washington State Judicial College and many statewide judicial conferences. Judge Portnoy’s publications include Washington Criminal Practice in Courts of Limited Jurisdiction; LexisNexis Practice Guide: Washington Criminal Law (co-author) and editor of the Washington State Judge’s Impaired Driving Bench Book.

Judge Portnoy was asked to reflect on her years of service as a judge.

“It has been my honor to serve the community. The executive and legislative branches have been outstanding partners, respecting judicial independence, and supporting our vision for the highest levels of accountability and service. 
"I have been blessed with wonderful administrators, court staff and work colleagues throughout my 23 years and it will be difficult to leave them. I have been honored to work alongside our probation officer, Phil Stanley; his contribution to our court is immeasurable. 
"I have appreciated the hard work and dedication of those practicing in court before me, including long-time prosecutors Sarah Roberts and Carmen McDonald, the public defenders who have handled the criminal caseload, and Jenny Grogan, the city’s DV advocate. 
"As a judge, I see many people at very low and difficult times in their lives. Countless times I have witnessed how people change their lives through courage and perseverance. Being part of people’s lives in my role as judge changed my life too. 
"I learned never to give up on anyone or to believe a person cannot change. Although words alone are not sufficient to express my feelings, I can say It was a privilege and a joy to serve as your judge."
The City invites people to write to Judge Portnoy.


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