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American Institute on Domestic Violence


Evergreen AIDS



A member of our community with extensive education, unmatched expertise, and 35+ years of experience in every Whatcom County courtroom.


"David would decide cases from a neutral posture, evaluating the facts and interpreting and applying the law to the facts of a case before him. WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR, CONSISTENT WITH THE JUDICIAL OATH."
Whatcom County Roots

David was born and raised in Ferndale, Whatcom County.


Like his father, who was a dentist, David grew up participating in his community.  He was attended the Ferndale School District and was President of Ferndale High School his Senior Year. 

Professional Experience

For the last 26 years David has been the Ferndale Municipal Prosecutor. 


David has extensive experience as a judge--- serving as a Pro Tem Judge in the Whatcom Superior Court, Whatcom County District Court, and Municipal Courts of Bellingham, Lynden, Sumas, Everson, and Blaine. ​

After graduating from Ferndale High School and getting his B.A. at Pacific Lutheran University, David attended law school at the University of Puget Sound School of Law. He attended the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia in 1989. David's continuing Legal Education has included training to be a Guardian ad Litem, and a Child Abuse Interviewing Course through the Criminal Justice Training Commission.  David has also been an instructor for Guardian ad Litem training and an instructor for police officers (in report writing and testimony).  David has also been an instructor in classes for other lawyers on domestic violence and DUI law. From 1986-1991, David served as Senior Deputy Public Defender where he handled juvenile criminal cases, adult misdemeanors, and adult felony cases (including murder cases).  

He was a Managing Partner at Nelson and Brinson, P.S. Attorneys at Law from 1991-1995, then a Partner at Nelson, Brinson & Elich, P.S. through 2001. David was a Managing Partner at Nelson, Brinson, Thigpen, & Fryer, P.S. until 2006, when he became the Owner of the Law Office of David A. Nelson, P.S. From 2010-2012, David was also the Owner of Pacific Northwest Guardian ad Litem.  David served as President of the Whatcom County Bar Association in 2001. 

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Public Service

Over the years, David has volunteered with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Lydia Place, Kiwanis, Evergreen AIDS Foundation, and American Institute on Domestic Violence.

Personal Life

In his personal life David has traveled the world... most recently in Asia. 


He has visited the courts in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore--- and met judges in those jurisdictions.  He also visited The Old Bailey, Central Criminal Court of England, in London, to observe criminal court in that jurisdiction. He loves music, live theater and reading—history and science fiction.  

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