Judge Joel Penoyar
Joel Penoyar was an attorney from 1975 to 1988, handling a general practice and serving as city attorney for South Bend, Washington. He was also a part time District Court Judge and Superior Court Commissioner during that same time period. He ran in a contested election for Superior Court in 1988 and served as the Superior Court Judge for Pacific and Wahkiakum Counties until 2005, when he was appointed to the Court of Appeals. He was elected to a six year term in 2006. As a lawyer, Judge Penoyar served on the Board of Bar Examiners. For the Superior Court Judges Association, he served on the Rural Courts Committee; Courts and Community Committee; Project 2001; Ethics Committee; and the Ethics Advisory Committee. He is a former member of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, a board that handles discipline for judges statewide.
Joel and his wife, Betsy, raised 5 children and have been very active in Youth Soccer, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Historical Society, and Lions Club and numerous other local organizations. Joel is a volunteer firefighter and first responder. He has taught domestic violence classes and judicial ethics classes.
Rural judges have an excellent chance to see the results of their decisions in their communities. Judge Penoyar believes this unique perspective and his many years of judicial experience are invaluable in his work at the Court of Appeals.
Judge Penoyar believes that it is a mistake for judges to attempt to mold the law to fit their own personal or political beliefs. More important than a “judicial philosophy” is a judicial work ethic: Judge Penoyar strives to write decisions that are understandable, correct, complete and that make sense in our real world.
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