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Inslee appointment leaves two vacancies on Spokane Co. Superior Court

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(The Center Square) – Governor Jay Inslee’s recent appointment of a Spokane County Superior Court Judge to the Washington State Court of Appeals Third Division has left two vacancies to be filled in the Spokane County Superior Court.

The first is the seat vacated by Gov. Inslee’s recent appointment of Judge John Cooney to the Spokane-based Third Division Appellate Court. He will be replacing Judge Laurel Siddoway, who is retiring on July 31.

Cooney has been with the Spokane County Superior Court as a judge since 2013 and served from 2007 to 2013 as a Spokane County District Court judge.

“Judge Cooney has a wealth of trial court experience that will serve him well on the appellate bench,” said Gov. Inslee in a statement from his office accompanying the announcement. “He’s a well-respected jurist with a reputation for working hard, and his skills and work ethic will be a welcome addition at the Court of Appeals.”

The second vacancy is not due to a departure but an arrival.

The addition of a 13th judge to Spokane County Superior Court is a legislative matter that has been in the works for over two decades and has only recently come to fruition by a vote of the Spokane County Board of Commissioners.

Originally approved by the state legislature in 1997, the position was finally announced as funded by Judge Julie M. McKay of the Spokane County Superior Court last week.

In the most recent proposal asking for that 13th bench seat, the court cited an increase in caseload of over 40% in the last decade and nearly 80% in the last two decades.

With the funding, the court may finally be getting some of the resources it needs to deal with the growth in caseload if Gov. Inslee can find qualified applicants for the positions who will make it through the approval process.

An announcement from the governor’s office notes that to be “considered for both vacancies, applications must be submitted to the Governor’s Office by Sunday, July 9, 2023,” an incredibly short timeline in the judicial world which generally moves on timetables closer to the twenty plus years it took to approve the 13th bench seat for Spokane County Superior Court.

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