Judge Verhey announces retirement


After more than 25 years on the bench, Judge Elizabeth E. “Betsy” Verhey has announced that she will not seek re-election to the Tacoma Municipal Court this year, and will retire at the end of her term on Dec. 31.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Tacoma and Pierce County, and I have worked hard to promote the resolution of cases in a fair, efficient, and timely manner,” said Verhey.

After graduating magna cum laude from Central Washington University in 1981, Verhey came to Tacoma to attend the University of Puget Sound School of Law, graduating in 1984.  She practiced law from 1984 to 1993 in the law firm of Griffin, Imperiale, Bobman & Verhey, becoming a full equity partner in 1987.  In 1993, she was appointed as full-time Court Commissioner in the Pierce County District Court and in 1995, she was appointed to the Tacoma Municipal Court to fill a vacant position. Judge Verhey has run for election successfully since that time.

Verhey is a member of the Washington State Bar Association (judicial status) and the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association. She has served as a board member for the District and Municipal Court Judges Association (DMCJA) and has served on numerous committees, including the DMCJA Education Committee, the Presiding Judges Education Committee, and as the DMCJA liaison to the District & Municipal Court Managers Association (DMCMA). She has also served as an elected pro tem judge for the Pierce County Superior Court and as the presiding judge for the Tacoma Municipal Court.

Verhey is active in the Tacoma community, and has served on the boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Catholic Woman’s Club, and the Children’s Home Society of Washington.  She is a frequent speaker at local schools and serves as one of the judges in the “We the People” State Competition.

In 1995, Verhey coordinated the development of the City of Tacoma Community Service Work Crew which allows participants to work off their fines and costs on weekdays and weekends. In 1998, she developed a relicensing calendar that coordinated with the Pierce County Superior Court Drug Court and Dependency Court to help participants regain their driver’s licenses. She then evolved this calendar into a comprehensive Tacoma Municipal Court Relicensing Program, both of which operate to this day. In addition, she presides over the designated Substance Abuse Court, the Mental Health Calendar, and the developing Therapeutic Mental Health Court.

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