Superior Court Judge Poyfair to retire this year

Early announcement will allow successor to win at ballot box




Clark County Superior Court Judge Edwin Poyfair has announced that he does not plan to seek re-election and will retire when his term ends this year.

Poyfair, 68, has been a Superior Court judge for nearly 20 years, spending the last nine years presiding over predominantly family law cases.

“I love my job. I truly do,” he said. “This is my 20th year. I believe it’s the appropriate timing.”

Poyfair said he wanted to make the announcement now to give his successor time to campaign for the August primary election. The filing deadline is in May.

He said it’s important to him that his successor be voted in, not appointed. Over the last decade, there’s been a trend of judges’ retiring midway through a term, meaning the governor must appoint a replacement. The last time there was a true open race for a Superior Court judge was in 2000, when Judge John Wulle was elected.

“I want voters to make the decision,” he said.

Poyfair said he plans to retire to Arizona. He said he may do some mediation work, but would not actively practice law in a courtroom.

The last Superior Court vacancy was created by the retirement of Judge Roger Bennett, who stepped down last summer but is still practicing law.

Poyfair received his law degree from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, and became a lawyer in 1972. Prior to becoming a judge, he handled domestic, personal injury, probate and estate cases in Vancouver for 20 years.

Superior Court judges have jurisdiction over all criminal cases (they directly handle felonies and, on appeal, misdemeanors), civil cases involving more than $75,000, divorces, probate cases and juvenile court.

Judges earn $148,836 a year. Poyfair expects to receive at least about $7,000 a month in pension — or about $84,000 annually — after he retires.

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516;;;