Judge Marilyn Paja
Marilyn Paja has served as District Court Judge for Kitsap County since 1999. She was the 2006-07 Presiding Judge for the Court. Previously she was the Presiding Judge for the Gig Harbor Municipal Court from 1985-98. As a lawyer, she also owned her general trial practice firm in Port Orchard from 1982 until her election in 1998. She was regularly selected to serve as a mediator and arbitrator during this time. Judge Paja is a graduate of Willamette University and University of Puget Sound School of Law.
In 2008/09 Judge Paja was President of the State Municipal and District Court Judges Association (DMCJA) and served on the Board of Directors. For the last 12 years, she has been a member of the State Pattern Jury Instructions Committee (WPI) helping re-write jury instructions to conform to changes in the law for use by attorneys and judges statewide. Judge Paja was elected statewide and regional representative to the National Association of Women Judges from 2011-2014 and as the National Vice President of Districts 2016. She is past chair of both the Legislative and Diversity Committees of the DMCJA and a former member of the Board for Judicial Administration (BJA). Judge Paja taught new judges at the State Judicial College from 2004-2015 and continues to teach education classes to judges around the state. In 2010 she was named DMCJA "Judge of the Year." She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Supreme Courts Gender and Justice Commission, and also serves as chair of the HB1163 work group investigating Domestic Violence treatment and risk assessment.
Judge Paja was names a YWCA Woman of Achievement in 2011, recognizing her community volunteer work. She has taught at the Peoples Law School, the KCSO Citizens Academy, and is a frequent speaker in schools and at community events. She currently chairs the SKHS Law Classes Advisory Council. She has been a member of the Kitsap County Law Week Celebration Committee since 1985. She is a member and past-President of Port Orchard Kiwanis, and has taught at the Kiwanis Youth Law Enforcement Academy for over ten years. In 2001, she founded the annual South Kitsap Bike Rodeo and Safety Fair in cooperation with S K Fire District 7, and has chaired that event ever since. She is a past advisory board member to the Kitsap County Ethnic Unity Council. Prior to her election as a judge, Judge Paja served as a founding member of the Kitsap County Domestic Violence Task Force, the Family Law Section of the Kitsap Bar Association, and the Volunteer Attorney Program (now known as Kitsap Legal Services). She served as an officer and member of the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Kitsap County.
The mother of three adult children, Judge Paja has been married for thirty seven years to her husband Alan, an attorney retired from the State Department of Labor and Industries and from the PNW Regional Council of Carpenters. She enjoys playing tennis, hiking and travel. She has lived just outside Port Orchard since 1980.