"This is ridiculous. We're breaking up families, selling property out from underneath people,
making people wards of the state."
Judge David A. Nichols served as a state judge on the main trial court level in Whatcom County Superior Court in Washington State from 1985 until he retired in 2005. His court heard cases ranging from murder to contracts to estates to domestic relations.
Gradually, over his twenty-year career as a judge, Nichols realized that most civil cases in his court were shoved aside by the priority given to criminal cases and drug cases or drug-affected cases. In addition to the damage inflicted upon individuals, families and communities, he saw drug cases occupy an inordinate amount of money and time. "They clog the system," he says. "This whole approach to drug interdiction overloads the system and is a waste of time, at least from my vantage point."
Judge Nichols has published regularly on decriminalization of drugs and the death penalty. He taught evidence to new judges in the state judicial college for fifteen years. Prior to his service as a state judge, he was in private civil practice with emphasis on litigation.
Dave Nichols grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, his father was a lawyer and it was respect for that profession that brought him to law enforcement. Judge Nichols received his B.A. from Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts; his M.A. in teaching from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut; and his J.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle.
He has been married to his wife, Dorothy, for 47 years and they have three grown children.