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Judge Johanna Bender - Superior Court

How to contact a King County Superior Court judge and get ready for your trial or motion.

Photo of Judge Johanna Bender.

  • Bailiff: Chase Craig
  • Department: 28
  • Courtroom Number: GA
  • Assignment: Chief MRJC Criminal


Judge Bender was appointed to the King County Superior Court bench by Governor Inslee and joined the court on December 1, 2015. She previously served as a King County District Court Judge from 2012 to 2015.

Judge Bender has considerable interest and expertise in partnerships between the legal system and behavioral health providers to maximize services for community members in crisis. While on the District Court bench, Judge Bender presided over the County’s Regional Mental Health Court and Regional Veterans Court programs. She has co-chaired the County Mental Illness and Drug Dependency Oversight Committee, presided over the Superior Court Involuntary Treatment Act calendar, and co-chaired the Court’s Involuntary Treatment Act Oversight Committee. She also presided over the 2021 to 2022 Recovery Pilot Project, a program that utilized therapeutic treatment court strategies to serve patients released from involuntary hospitalization into the community. She has taught statewide on the intersection between behavioral health and the law, and has testified often in Olympia on mental health policy matters.

A 1991 graduate of Brown University, Judge Bender was a domestic violence advocate at the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network from 1991 to 1993. After graduating from the University of Washington School of Law in 1996, Judge Bender worked in the public and private sectors before taking the bench. She was a staff attorney at The Defender Association from 1996 to 2000, clerked for The Honorable Marsha J. Pechman, United States District Court Judge, from 2000 to 2002, and was an associate attorney at Gordon, Murray, Tilden LLP from 2002 to 2006. From 2006 until her appointment to District Court in 2012, Judge Bender served as a Pro Tem Judge throughout Western Washington.

Judge Bender serves on the Advisory Board for the Judicial Institute, a program dedicated to increasing diversity on the Washington State bench. An active contributor to efforts to increase access to justice in King County and across our state, Judge Bender was appointed by Governor Inslee as a Trustee of the Legal Foundation of Washington, serves on the Minority and Justice Commission, and has previously acted as liaison from the bench to the Statewide Access to Justice Board. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Bender volunteered for many years for Legal Voice, a civil legal aid organization dedicated to advancing legal rights for women. Judge Bender is currently the Chief Judge at the Maleng Regional Justice Center, and has previously served as the Assistant Chief Criminal Judge for the Court.


Non-dispositive motions

Parties must comply with all the requirements of KCLR 7 when setting motions without oral argument. All non-dispositive motions will be considered by the Court without oral argument unless a party requests oral argument and the Court deems oral argument to be necessary. If you wish to request oral argument, please so indicate on the front page of your motion or opposition. Judge Bender will consider the request when she reviews the motion on the date noted for hearing without oral argument. If at that time the Court decides to hear oral argument, the bailiff will contact the parties regarding scheduling. If the Court does not grant oral argument, you will receive a courtesy copy of the Court’s order on the non-dispositive motion once the Court enters a ruling.

Dispositive motions and hearing requests

Dispositive motions are heard on Fridays as well as certain Thursday afternoons. Judge Bender is available in one-hour slots. Please select a date and then check with all opposing counsel or pro se parties to make sure that the date works before contacting the bailiff. Doing so reduces the need to reschedule hearings due to conflicts. Once you have selected a date and confirmed all parties’ availability, you must contact the bailiff to confirm the date is still available.

Do not note your motion until the bailiff has sent back confirmation.

Any email request for a dispositive motion hearing must include

  • Case name and cause number
  • Names, phone numbers and email addresses of all counsel
  • Type of hearing and dates requested

Judge Bender will provide additional time on hearings involving multi-party cases or complex litigation. Please advise the bailiff of your request when scheduling. Other types of motions that are granted oral argument are motions for restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, revisions, and class certification hearings.

Motions to shorten time

Motions to shorten time are strongly disfavored and should only be used in extraordinary circumstances. If a party wishes the Court to consider a motion on shortened time, the underlying motion must be noted in the regular course, and a separate motion to shorten time should be submitted. Unless and until the Court grants the motion to shorten time, all responses and replies should be submitted as though the motion is to be considered on the presumptive timeline.

Motions for change of civil trial date

Motions for a change in trial date, even if submitted by stipulation of the parties, must be made in compliance with Local Rule 40(e).

Proposed orders and working papers

Judge Bender requires a Word version of all proposed orders. You may submit a Word copy of your proposed order by email to Alternatively, you may submit your proposed order via the e-filing portal by using the e-working copies application. Working copies of motions and declarations must be submitted via the e-filing portal or by delivery to the Judges’ Mailing Room (2D) at the Maleng Regional Justice Center (MRJC). The Court cannot accept delivery of working papers by email or by delivery to the courtroom.


Judge Bender is available afternoons Monday through Friday at the MRJC. On the weekends, she is available at King County Courthouse, MRJC, or other locations, by agreement. Please call 206-477-1495 or email the bailiff at