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.”
This video reveals Court Commissioner Sauerlender adjudicating a distraught father’s motion to hold his ex-wife in contempt for foot dragging and alleged noncompliance with the visitation schedule of their parenting plan along with suggestions/hints she may have exacted alienation of his daughter’s affections in the bargain. Alienation of affections involving a child is, unlike for adults, actionable and all too common. Listen carefully to how Commissioner Sauerlender handles all this, bearing in mind these kinds of procedings often are adjudicated more on the fulcrum of the judge’s biases than the law. Judges are given wide latitude in such matters and Washington residents have no right to a jury trial for actions in equity. (e.g. Divorce/custody disputes). So choose your venue and judge wisely/carefully.