Judge Whitney Rivera was appointed to a seat on the Snohomish County Superior Court in 2024 after serving more than three years as the Edmonds Municipal Court Judge. She is the first woman of AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) descent to serve on the Snohomish County Superior Court bench. Judge Rivera grew up in Snohomish County and graduated from Edmonds Woodway High School. She then earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and literature from the University of Washington and her law degree from Boston College Law School.

As the Edmonds Municipal Court Judge, she restarted the Community Court program, which offers court users the opportunity to access services to address the underlying issues causing them to become court involved. She was active in the District & Municipal Court Judges’ Association and received a Presidential Award for her legislative work on behalf of the organization in 2023. She has taught at Judicial College and presented at statewide trainings for judges.

Before being appointed to the bench, Judge Rivera was a public defender for nearly 14 years. She spent most of this time as a trial attorney at the Snohomish County Public Defender Association. After doing trial work for seven years, she transitioned to working as an appellate public defender at the Washington Appellate Project. She has argued cases before the Court of Appeals and the Washington Supreme Court.

After her appellate work, Judge Rivera returned to the Snohomish County Public Defender Association and trial work. She served as the supervisor of the misdemeanor unit, where she hired, trained, and supervised trial attorneys. She received the President’s Award and two Certificates of Recognition from the Washington Defender Association.

Judge Rivera lives in Edmonds with her long-time partner, Snohomish County Superior Court  Judge Paul Thompson, their son, and their three rescue dogs. She is active in her community, serving on non-profit boards for the Hazel Miller Foundation, Edmonds Food Bank, and the Edmonds College Foundation. She also volunteers her time helping to teach an introduction to law class at Everett High School.


Read more about Judge Rivera’s qualifications