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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate to mark Senate confirmation of King County Judge Richard Jones as District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington state.  Senator Murray helped select Judge Jones and also introduced him during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July of this year. 

"Judge Jones has handled some of the most difficult cases in Western Washington in the past decade, and he’s won the respect of everyone who’s come before him," Senator Murray said today.  "In his courtroom, Judge Jones is known for making articulate and powerful statements that make clear where he stands.  He also clearly meets the standards of fairness, even-handedness, and adherence to the law that we expect of our federal judges. I know that I speak on behalf of a large number of the people in my state's legal and law enforcement community in saying that our federal bench will be stronger with Richard Jones."

Senator Murray's full floor remarks about Judge Richard Jones follow:

Mr. President. I am honored to speak today on behalf of Richard Jones, a distinguished lawyer and King County Superior Court Judge from my home state –– a man who enjoys broad bipartisan support and who deserves a seat on the federal bench.

President Bush nominated Judge Jones to be a District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington State.  He is an excellent choice.  I'm proud to support him, and I urge my colleagues to support him as well. 

If you were to ask lawyers and judges in my home state about Judge Jones, here are some of the descriptions you would hear.

"He's admired by everyone in the justice system."

"He gives respect, and he gets respect

"The test of one's performance is the way they handle the smaller cases.  Richard displays precisely that same degree of sensitivity to all that appear before him."

The Seattle Times described this nomination by saying, "This is a lifetime appointment with no room for mistakes, and we believe there is no mistake here."

Mr. President. I couldn't agree more.  Judge Jones has handled some of the most difficult cases in Western Washington in the past decade, and he’s won the respect of everyone who’s come before him. 

For example, he presided over the sentencing of Gary Ridgway, also known as the "Green River Killer."  Ridgway pleaded guilty to 48 counts of aggravated first degree murder in 2003 and is one of the most prolific serial killers in American history.  It would be a tough case for any judge, but Judge Jones earned praise for the sensitivity and dignity he showed for the victims of the Green River Killer.

As a result of that case -- and in recognition of his long service to Washington State -- in 2004 Judge Jones received the "Judge of the Year Award" from the Asian Bar Association of Washington, the King County Bar Association, the Washington State Bar Association, and the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association.

And Judge Jones has also been praised by peers for handling cases far out of the media spotlight with the same care and attention.

Mr. President. Both Senator Cantwell and I assisted the President in choosing Judge Jones from a list of very qualified candidates. 

When I met him, I was so impressed with his sensitivity, his professionalism, and his overall sense of fairness.

Throughout his career, Judge Jones has won high praise for his judicial demeanor and for the respect he shows all parties.

In his courtroom, Jones is known for making articulate and powerful statements that make clear where he stands. 

He also clearly meets the standards of fairness, even-handedness, and adherence to the law that we expect of our federal judges.

In terms of his personal background, he graduated from Seattle University and the University of Washington School of Law.

In private practice, Richard Jones successfully represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of civil cases.

As a state and federal prosecutor, he had extensive experience prosecuting criminal cases.

Most recently, as a full-time King County Superior Court Judge, Richard Jones has distinguished himself and won broad support. 

And in addition to all of his professional responsibilities, Judge Jones has also been deeply involved in community activities – serving as a YMCA board member and mentoring minority youths. He has also worked in the community to expand opportunities for students to pursue legal careers by supporting youth-oriented legal programs.

Judge Jones has shown a commitment to the people of his community and that is one of the reasons they have shown a commitment to him.

Since he was first appointed in 1994, the voters of King County have reelected him three times.

I know that I speak on behalf of a large number of the people in my state's legal and law enforcement community in saying that our federal bench will be stronger with Richard Jones.  So it's my pleasure to support his nomination.

Judge Jones has garnered bi-partisan support in my state and I am confident that his record of fair and unbiased service will earn him bi-partisan support today.

I urge all my colleagues to vote to support this nomination.