Mason Superior Ct. Commissioner Sauerlender CR 59 (1-6-21)

Washington State Superior/Family Court (Mason County) Commissioner Robert D. Sauerlender typically presides over the domestic family court hearings/proceedings involving matters like juvenile court, divorce, child custody and support, maintenance, division of property, etc. Roy Cohn once said, “I don’t care what th law says, just tell me who the judge is.” There’s a lot of truth in that quote. Worse, Washington law provides no right to exclude a court commissioner through an affidavit of prejudice, only judges despite the fact a court commissioner has virtually the same effect as a judge when he/she presides. A dissatisfied litigant’s ONLY remedy is to seek a review de novo per the following authority:

Article 4, section 23 of the Washington Constitution and RCW 2.24.010 provide for the appointment of superior court commissioners.   By statute, commissioners are authorized to hear and determine a variety of matters including  juvenile offense proceedings.  However, in all matters decided by a commissioner the parties are entitled to revision by a judge of the superior court.  A party seeking revision of a court commissioner’s ruling must file a notice of the motion for revision within ten days of the ruling they seek to revise.  A demand for revision of a commissioner’s ruling is “an appeal to a superior court.”

A motion for reconsideration pursuant to CR 59 also has a 10 day deadline with other requirements to avoid dismissal/denial. Thus, every effort should be made to learn the idiosyncrasies of the judge/commissioner likely to preside. You may have reason to challenge the judge/commissioner for cause and move to have him/her recuse themself, thus avoiding the need to file an affidavit of prejudice. Or you may find another venue also has jurisdiction and choose to file there instead. Toward that end, this video displays Commissioner Robert Sauerlender on the bench adjudicating an unsuccessful motion for reconsideration under CR 59 as part of a divorce proceeding involving a dispute over child support and maintenance requested by the wife.

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