On April 13th Gov. Jay Inslee announced the appointment of Judge G. Helen Whitener to the Washington State Supreme Court.
As a Pierce County Superior Court Judge, Judge Whitener was active locally, nationally and internationally in various community service activities. With a strong commitment to justice and equality for all people, and a unique perspective as a woman, an immigrant, and a person of color, she speaks often on human rights, access to justice, and basic dignity and respect in judicial proceedings.
Judge Whitener was born and raised in the beautiful Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Educated in the British system, Judge Whitener arrived in the United States at the age of 16 to attend college where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and International Marketing from Baruch College, City University of New York in 1988. She entered law school in 1995 at Seattle University School of Law where she obtained her J.D. degree in 1998. She has practiced law as both a prosecutor and a member of the private defense bar and understands the law from both sides.
Whitener litigated criminal cases for 14 years as both a prosecutor and defense attorney before becoming a judge. She has a passion for the law and how it protects the rights of people. She teaches and frequently speaks on street law.
Whitener is known for her commitment to justice and equity. She serves as co-chair of the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission and as a member of the Civil Legal Aid Oversight Committee. She continues to garner recognition for her work to advance the cause of justice. Last year, Whitener was awarded the Washington State Bar Association’s C.Z. Smith Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award, the King County Washington Women Lawyers President Award, the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association’s Diversity Award and the Seattle University School of Law’s Woman of the Year Award.
“Judge Whitener inspires lawyers and non-lawyers alike with her relentless work to raise awareness for matters of race, justice and equity,” Inslee said. “She is tireless in her commitment to building a justice system that works for all, and as a Supreme Court justice, she will have an even greater platform to promote justice for everyone in Washington state. I am very pleased to appoint her to this bench and I look forward to her many contributions to our state for years to come.”
Whitener is Co-chair of the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission and serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association of LGBT Judges (IALGBTJ). Judge Whitener is also a member of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ), the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) and the American Judges Association (AJA). In 2017 she was appointed by the Washington State Supreme Court to the Office of Civil Legal Aid Oversight Committee (OCLA). She is a former chair and co-chair of the Washington State Superior Court Judges’ Association (SCJA) – Equity and Fairness Committee.
Judge Whitener should be a perfect addition to the Washington State Supreme Court.