Judge Erik Rohrer is planning a return to his former position as District Court II Judge in Forks.
Rohrer, 60, who currently serves as Presiding Judge of Clallam County Superior Court, has been elected five times during his judicial career.
Rohrer explained that “My current superior court position is my dream job — it’s a challenging role that I enjoy very much — but when we heard that Judge Doherty didn’t plan to run for re-election, it got my wife, Cari, and I talking about our priorities.”
“We’ve lived in the West End for nearly 20 years — we love it here. Cari recently ‘retired’ from her job as a teacher in Forks—the District Court II position allows us to have a more balanced lifestyle and gives us a chance to get back to some of the things that brought us out here in the first place.”
Rohrer followed (current) Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens as the District Court II Judge when he was originally appointed to the position in 2001. He was elected to the District Court II bench in 2002, then re-elected in 2006 and 2010.
In 2012, he successfully ran for Superior Court Judge and was re-elected to that position in 2016. He has been Presiding Judge of the Superior Court since 2015.
One of Rohrer’s Superior Court duties is serving as the Judge for Drug Court. He is also the judge for the “Special Report Calendar,” a therapeutic court designed primarily for individuals with mental health issues. Rohrer is an advocate for therapeutic courts, because they can address the underlying causes of criminal activity.
During his time with the Superior Court, Rohrer has been instrumental in modernizing the courtrooms through increased use of audio/visual presentation equipment and video conferencing. He played a role in the court’s recent transition to “Odyssey,” the new statewide case management system, and is knowledgeable about court technology issues.
Judge Rohrer is very active in the community. For example, since 2008, he has been the West End’s representative on the Peninsula College Board of Trustees. And he, along with Cari, also volunteer with the Peninsula Trails Coalition to maintain several miles of the West End section of the Olympic Discovery Trail.
Rohrer is a long-time member and supporter of the Forks Chamber of Commerce — he served two terms as President and many years as a board member and active volunteer. He also served on the boards of the Forks Community Hospital Foundation and the West Olympic Peninsula Betterment Association.
Additionally, Rohrer served as Chair of the Washington State Office of Civil Legal Aid Oversight Committee and as President of the Pacific Northwest Trail Association.
Rohrer earned a BA in Philosophy from Western Washington University in 1980 and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Willamette University College of Law in 1985.
He attended the Washington Judicial College program in both 2001 and 2013 and has met or exceeded Board for Court Education approved judicial education requirements each year since 2001.
Before becoming a Judge, Rohrer worked as an attorney in private practice and as an Assistant Attorney General. He helped open the Attorney General’s Office in Port Angeles in 1991 and served as the manager and lead attorney of that office for a decade.
If elected, Rohrer intends to “run the court the same way I ran it for 12 years — with fairness, integrity and common sense.” He emphasizes that he has 18 years of directly applicable court management, budgeting and personnel experience in addition to his actual courtroom experience.
“I’m not running to make major changes in District Court II, but I have a track record of making improvements at every position I’ve held. My intention is to review everything with a fresh set of eyes and then proceed from there as appropriate,” he said.
Judge Rohrer commented that his 12 years of actual hands-on experience as the District Court II Judge makes him “uniquely qualified” for this position and that he is “looking forward to playing a greater role in the community in which we live.”