Judge with tribal background appointed to Superior Court

Longtime tribal judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis, of the Pueblo of Isleta and Pueblo of Laguna Indian tribes, was appointed to Whatcom Superior Court. Photo courtesy Western Washington University.
Longtime tribal judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis, of the Pueblo of Isleta and Pueblo of Laguna Indian tribes, was appointed to Whatcom Superior Court by Gov. Jay Inslee. (Photo courtesy Western Washington University.)

A longtime tribal judge will become Washington’s only Native American Superior Court judge when she starts this month on the bench in Whatcom County.

Raquel Montoya-Lewis, who has been the Chief Judge for the Nooksack and Upper Skagit Indian Tribes, was appointed to a new seat on the Whatcom County Superior Court Dec. 15.

Montoya-Lewis is from the Pueblo of Isleta and the Pueblo of Laguna Indian tribes, which are in New Mexico, according to the governor’s office.

According to Western Washington University’s Window Magazine, Montoya-Lewis has been a judge in tribal justice systems for more than a decade.

Montoya-Lewis has 15 years of experience as a judge, and also is an associate professor at Western Washington University, an Appellate Court Judge for the Nisqually Tribal Court of Appeals and the Northwest Intertribal Court System, according to the release.

She has a J.D. and master’s in social work from the University of Washington and her B.A. from the University of New Mexico, according to the governor’s office.

Montoya-Lewis’ appointment fills a new position that was approved by the state Legislature in 2013 and established a fourth judge on the bench in Whatcom county, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

Other Superior Court appointments in December include:

Veronica Alicea Galván was appointed to the King County Superior Court, replacing retiring Judge Greg Canova. Her appointment was on Dec. 19.

Galván has been the Presiding Judge on the Des Moines Municipal Court, an elected position. Galván ran the Des Moines courtroom as a dual-language courtroom in English and Spanish, according to the governor’s office. Galván is also an adjunct instructor at the Seattle University School of Law, where she teaches a continuing legal educational program emphasizing multilingual legal education.

She serves as president of the District and Municipal Court Judges Association and was the chair of their diversity committee from 2010 to 2012.

For Spokane County Superior Court, Inslee appointed attorney Raymond Clary. Clary, who was appointed Dec. 24, replaces retiring judge Tari Eitzen.

Clary was awarded the Community Impact Award in 2013 from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Outreach Center in Spokane, according to the governor’s office, and received a Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation from the Washington State Bar Association.

Clary was the Advisory Director for the Morning Star Boys’ Ranch, a residential facility, for more than 10 years. He is also a former Golden Gloves Boxing Champion.

Clary is a partner at the Spokane firm of Etter, McMahon, Lamberson, Clary & Oreskovich. He graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law and Eastern Washington University.

All the new appointees’ terms begin in January.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.