Judge Laura Riquelme:
Experience You Can Trust…in Court and for the Community
Judge Laura Riquelme has a history of listening to all voices in Skagit County. She has spent her entire legal career here in Skagit County as a Prosecuting Attorney, then a Public Defender, as a Judge Pro Tem, and now as one of your Skagit County Superior Court Judges. She has presided over hundreds of judicial motions in addition to over 50 bench and jury trials since 2016.
Through her roles as judge, community volunteer, wife, and mother, Judge Laura Riquelme is connected with Skagit County’s legal and community needs. She is the President of the Madison Elementary Parent Teacher Organization in Mount Vernon, a board member for Community Action of Skagit County, and scholarship committee chairperson for Skagit Women in Business. She and her family are rooted in this community.
Judge Laura Riquelme has been a dedicated listener to the needs of families who live and work here in Skagit County. She is on the bench hearing civil, criminal, juvenile, and the family law cases.
“It takes more than a law degree to be fair in working with our children, parents, immigrants, disabled populations as well as the troubled individuals and families who come before our courts. I also come from a family of small business owners and farmers and understand the challenges they face in the changing economy and legal landscape,”she said. “In addition to having the traditional legal experience required of a judge, I bring heart and balance to the position and the Superior Court bench.”
Legal Work Experience
Skagit County Superior Court Judge
Mount Vernon, WA
Presides over regular criminal and civil dockets as well as jury and non-jury trials. Researches and rules on motions brought in civil cases related to wills and trusts, contractual and property disputes, personal injury complaints, parenting plans (child custody), divorces, third-party custody actions, guardianships, unlawful detainers (evictions), and dependencies. Review and approve search warrants. Issue temporary and permanent protection orders. Grant adoption petitions. Completed week-long training for judges, two continuing education conferences for Superior Court judges, and intensive search and seizure (criminal law) course for judges. Presented at judicial conference on best practices with youth from non-English speaking backgrounds. Served as a Superior Court Judge Pro Tem.
Skagit County Public Defender’s Office
Mount Vernon, WA Senior Deputy Attorney
Tried felony cases to juries in Skagit County Superior Court. Represented indigent clients charged with all levels of felonies throughout the trial court process. Worked with expert witnesses. Represented Spanish-speaking clients without the use of interpreters. Advised and mentored junior attorneys. Worked with management on improved advocacy and fairness in the courts.
Skagit County Prosecutor’s Office
Mount Vernon, WA Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
Tried 33 jury trials and two bench trials in District Court and four jury trials in Superior Court. Worked in felony unit where prepared cases for trial, charged and researched cases, handled regular court calendars, and prepared extradition request for a murder investigation. Served as lead attorney in District Court.
Current Community Service
Parent Teacher Organization for Madison Elementary School (Mount Vernon School District)
Currently President for second year and the incoming 2018/2019 school year; Secretary for two school years; run general and board meetings. Plan and participate in spirit events, fundraisers, and meetings. Recruit and organize volunteers. Communicate with Spanish-speaking parents. Member of planning committee for the Goodbye Madison community event to celebrate the building and its history before its scheduled demolition.
Community Action of Skagit County
Executive Committee Member; Review budget, discuss the health and direction of the agency, and evaluated the director’s performance. Meet to discuss purchasing new property and launching a capital campaign. Participate in meetings of the Latino Advisory Committee and assist with strategic meetings to facilitate dialogue between the Latino community and public officials. Chairperson of the Personnel Committee.
Skagit Women in Business
Scholarship Chairperson for organization of professional women that raises money to provide scholarships to local women who are returning to school after breaks in their education. Coordinated application process with prospective applicants, organized interviews, and reached out to local institutions and community organizations to encourage women to apply for scholarships. Member of planning committee to host an educational event in late 2018 or early 2019. Member of the board.
Past Community Service
Mount Vernon City Library Board of Trustees
Trustee: Reviewed materials regarding library budget, expenditures, and policies. Participated in activities with consultants and stakeholders for a needs and feasibility assessment. Engaged in other aspects related to planning a new city library. Promoted the library at community events. Served as chair in 2015.
Mount Vernon Youth Soccer Association
Coached children and coordinated parents in under-seven soccer league. Officiated and coached games.
AFSCME Local 176-PD
Served as union president. Engaged in negotiations and impact bargaining with county negotiator. Member of committee to review and make recommendations for county’s health plans.
Citizens for Mount Vernon Schools
Phone banked and hung fliers on doors in support of replacement levies for local schools. Distributed fliers regarding school bond at basketball game.
Community Action of Skagit County
Taught weekly two-hour English as a Second Language class. Prepared lessons and activities.
Spent one week in remote Honduran village as part of church group’s service program.
Other Legal Experience
Superior Court Judges Association
Current member Trial Court Sentencing and Supervision Committee, Criminal Laws and Rules Committee, and Outreach Committee; 2016 Member of the Criminal Law and Rules Committee and the Equality and Fairness Committee.
Skagit County Bar Association
Served as chairperson of the newly-established membership and website committee for three months before becoming a judge. Updated membership records as members submitted dues. Worked with other members in establishing a new website for the association.
Washington Defender Association
Contributing member of WDA team in 2015 in drafting a response to proposed Evidence Rules. Provided data for amicus brief about standards of practice to advise clients of immigration consequences.
Skagit County Volunteer Lawyer Program
Worked with the Skagit Volunteer Lawyer Program at multiple clinics for Law Day, Project Homeless Connect, Latina/o Bar Association, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Workshop, and specialized clinics to assist in sealing juvenile records.
Syracuse University College of Law
Syracuse, NY Juris Doctor, cum laude with a certificate in Global Law and Practice
Activities: completed 25-hour mediation program; Environmental Law Society; legal externships.
Awards: Global Law and Practice Award; Justinian Honor Society; Chancellor’s Scholarship
Internships: drafted memoranda for motions and appeals with Syracuse Federal Public Defender’s Office; law clerk for Supreme Court Judge Edward Carni (equivalent of a Washington State Superior Court judge); researched federal disability law for a professor’s law review article; investigated and prepared complaint for federal class action lawsuit.
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA Bachelor of Arts
Double major in Social Thought & Political Economy and French
Activities: Phi Beta Kappa; PESH (Peer Educators on Sexual Harassment); study abroad in France; taught English as a Second Language; organized forum to discuss legislative changes with the welfare system; French Club fundraising chairperson.