Go To Search
Click to Home
Find a Department
Superior Court

Presiding Judge Frank E. Cuthbertson

Latest News

New Jury Scams

We will never ask for your social security number, bank or credit card information, or ask for money over the phone.


Change in Administration Hours

All Pierce County Superior Court offices will be closed during the noon hour 12:00pm-1:00pm starting on February 1st, 2016. 

Pierce County Minority Bar Association Youth and Law Forum

The Pierce County Minority Bar Association PCMBA will hold its annual Youth and Law Forum on Friday January 15th from 10-1:00 in Room 100 of the County City Building.  Over 100 students are expected to attend from several middle schools in Tacoma.  The program is designed to allow young students to learn about their rights as well as providing information on how the justice system works.  It is also an opportunity for youth to meet law enforcement officers, defense attorney’s prosecutors and judicial officers and learn more about their careers. 

The attorneys have worked really hard to make this event a success.  The day begins with a mock trial beginning at 10 AM in Room 100 and ends with lunch in Jury Administration at 1:00 PM.  Thanks to all Superior Court Staff who have helped on this events. 

For more information contact:  Sabrina Ahrens or Alex Kirigin
Link to PCMBA website:  

New Public Request forms for Superior Court and Juvenile Court Administrative Records pursuant to GR 31.1

Effective January 4, 2016, the Pierce County Superior Court has adopted a new policy/procedure for requesting administrative records in accordance with Washington State General Rule 31.1.  The forms for request of records and instructions are available HERE.

Changes to Jury Duty

Jury duty has been shortened to one week or until dismissed by the court.
That means you only need to plan to be available Monday through Thursday.

What does “or until dismissed by the court” mean?
Once you are assigned to a jury panel, you will stay on that case until the court releases you from your commitment.

Superior Court Administrator Andra Motyka, will retire Friday, Nov. 20, after serving the Court for 20 plus years.

Andra has been a valued employee leading the court through the technology revolution and through major court facility redesign. In 2007 Andra was nominated by the Pierce County Superior Court Judges for the NACM 2007 Award of Merit. Andra received the 2007 Award of Merit, the highest award presented to a court administrator by the National Association for Court Management. The entire Superior Court family wishes Andra well as she embarks on new endeavors. 

A national search for her replacement are underway and we expect it will take several months. In the interim, John Ladenburg, former Pierce County Executive and former Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney, has agreed to serve as the Administrator of Superior Court.  John is an excellent administrator who understands the courts and Pierce County government. He has successfully assisted the Court previously as Interim Administrator of Pierce County Juvenile Court. John will assume the Interim Court Administrator position on Monday, Nov. 23.

Please join me in wishing Andra well and thanking her for her service. And also please join me in welcoming John Ladenburg as our interim Superior Court Administrator.

 -    Frank E. Cuthbertson, Presiding Judge of Superior Court

2015 Pierce County Local Rules (PCLR)

2015 PCLR effective September 1st, 2015.  CLICK HERE to view and download the Adobe PDF version. 

Please note the following change:

(a) Statement of Arbitrability. In every civil case, the party filing the note for trial provided by CR 40(a)(1) and PCLR 40 shall, upon the form prescribed by the court, complete a statement of arbitrability; except that a party may file a statement of arbitrability requesting arbitration at any time after filing of the complaint, but no sooner than the date the confirmation of joinder is filed and no later than the discovery cutoff date. [emphasis added]  After the deadline has passed, the statement of arbitrability may be filed only by leave of the court for good cause shown. 

This local rule change requires that the Statement of Arbitrability be filed only on or after the deadline for filing the confirmation of joinder and before the discovery cutoff date, absent leave of court for good cause shown.


Governor Appoints Michael Schwartz to Pierce County Superior Court Department 3

Governor Inslee announced last night that he has appointed Michael Schwartz to the Pierce County Superior Court replacing Judge Tom Larkin who retires at the end of July.  Michael Schwartz has over twenty two years experience as a defense trial attorney.  He among a select group of attorneys who have been qualified to handle death penalty cases in Washington.  He has also served in the military and, prior to becoming an attorney, he was a commissioned police officer in Hawaii.  Michael Schwartz is active in the community coaching youth sports and he has served as President of the Robert Bryan Inns of Court.   He also currently co-chairs the Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section.  Michael will be a great addition to the Superior Court.  He brings a unique perspective to the bench and is well respected by the lawyers and judges in Pierce County.  Please join Superior Court in welcoming our new Judge, Michael Schwartz.

Additional information is available in Governor Inslee’s press release on the governor’s web site.


Superior Court Judges, Commissioners, and Spouses help build local housing.
Habitat for Humanity

On June 6th several judges, commissioners and their spouses helped with the construction of two homes at a Habitat build site.  They will have another opportunity in September to make this meaningful impact in our community.


Judge Whitener will visit Trinidad to promote human rights and tolerance.
Judge Whitener

Judge Helen Whitener will visit Trinidad from June 14-17 as part of the U.S. Embassy’s celebration of June as National Caribbean-American Heritage and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride (LGBT) months.

Judge Whitener was born in St. Augustine and migrated to the U.S.A. at age 16. She now sits on the Pierce County Superior Court, (the highest trial court in the State of Washington). She is the youngest woman of color to serve in such a position and is openly gay. Her visit is meant to promote human rights and tolerance. She will hold meetings with government officials, women’s groups and members of the LGBT community. Judge Whitener will also give a talk at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine on June 16 at 2:00 p.m.

Judge Whitener gives much of her time to speaking on various access to justice matters and is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, Washington State Superior Court Judges Association, Equality and Fairness Committee, National Association of Women Judges and the International Association of Women Judges.

She was featured in the local Express Women’s magazine in April.

New Jury Scams

Judge warns of phony payment demands for missed jury duty.
View the full article here
Clark County is reporting a jury scam via telephone that requires the resident to pay a fine and then show up to court on a specific date for a refund.  We will never request money over the phone.
View the full article

Kitsap County Jury Scam Advisory
For more details about Snohomish County
Juror Scams around the country



 Myths and Misperceptions about Courts
Do you wonder who the courts work for? Who can give you legal advice? To find out the answer to these and other questions check out this video - Myths and Misperceptions About the Washington Courts.

Juror Appreciation Week

New Criminal Division Presiding Judge (CDPJ) Protocols

New Mandatory Impact on Children Seminar Offered for Non-Parental Custody Petitioners

Changes to Ex Parte Procedure

Archived Superior Court News 

Bar News