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Spokane Superior Court Judge Position 6

Term: 3 Years unexpiredSalary: $165,870The Superior Court is the court of general jurisdiction in the state judicial system. There are thirty-one judicial districts in the state, each district having one or more judges. The Superior Courts have exclusive original jurisdiction over all civil matters involving dollar amounts over $35,000; title or possession of real property; cases involving legality of any tax, impost, assessment or toll; and probate and domestic matters. They have original jurisdiction over all criminal cases amounting to felony and all other criminal cases not otherwise provided by law; exclusive original jurisdiction over juvenile matters; and orders for protection from domestic violence. Appeals from courts of limited jurisdiction are heard anew or appealed on the record for error of law.
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    Jocelyn Cook (NP) Attorney

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    Tony Hazel (NP) Superior Court Judge

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Biographical Information

Why did you decide to run for this position?

What are the major issues facing the superior court today?

How could the court be made more efficient?

What particular skills will you bring to this position?

Phone (509) 270-8891
Town where you live Spokane
Experience (300 characters max) Ten years of experience negotiating and litigating cases for indigent clients in criminal and dependency cases. Two years of Sate and Federal appellate work. President's Award from WDA, Center for Children's Rights Fellow, Mentor for the Academic Success Program at Whittier College School of Law.
I decided to run for this position after the governor appointed a replacement for Judge Cozza. This appointment caused me to assess what I wanted the bench to look like. We deserve a bench committed to consistency in the application of law. Not only should our judges have had the opportunity to meet the people they are serving, they should also have a clear desire to do hard work for those people; to do the kind of work that takes time, thoughtfulness, care, and a dedication to the application of law that isn't affected by a political agenda. When it started to look like the appointment was going to go unopposed, I decided that a neutral, hard-working bench is something worth fighting for and, with the support of my family, I decided to oppose the appointment by running for the position.
The court is being impacted by two major issues: 1) sheer volume of cases and 2) public perception regarding the purpose of a Superior Court judge. The court hears cases filed privately and by the State. The volume of cases has increased for a myriad or reasons but the number of judges available has not increased. While the court remains understaffed, cases will be delayed which impacts access to justice for the community. There has also been misrepresentation about what judges do. Slogans that focus on “safety for the community” affect public perception. Law enforcement is responsible for community safety. Judges are responsible for ensuring that the law is being applied fairly and consistently for everyone. When judges are free to do their work within the parameters of the law, the community gets consistency from the bench. This allows all people to have access to justice that won’t change from courtroom to courtroom and isn't impacted by political agendas.
The court is required to follow the law and is only permitted to make decisions within certain parameters. Each judge can and should strive for efficiency with regard to each case before them, but they do not control the volume of cases filed or the amount of judicial positions available to hear those cases.
Our community benefits from judges who have worked with the people they are serving. While representing clients, I have worked with social workers, teachers, therapists, parents in crisis, medical professionals, people charged with crimes and their families. I have been in homes, group homes, treatment centers, hospitals, and institutions. I also have the legal acumen required to do the work of a Superior Court judge. I spent two years drafting appellate briefs for State and Federal cases and the last ten years negotiating and litigating cases, appearing in court, writing motions, and trying cases to jury and bench. I believe in the neutral, non-politicized, application of the law. I have seen the impact that thoughtfulness, hard-work, and kindness has on people when they appear before the court. I believe my experiences lend me the unique ability to treat people with genuine compassion while applying the law thoughtfully and with dedication to its neutral application.
Phone (509) 993-3929
YouTube Video
Town where you live Spokane Washington
Experience (300 characters max) Currently a Spokane Superior Court Judge presiding over criminal and civil matters. Prior to becoming a Judge, I spent 14 years as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney working in both the criminal and civil units with daily appearances in Superior Court litigating the most serious and complex cases.
An examination of my career will reveal that I am committed to a life of public service. I have always been motivated, both in my professional and private life, to serving something greater than myself. I believe the Superior Court bench provides me the opportunity to continue this endeavor. Over the course of my 14 years working as an attorney and judge, I have gained the appropriate level of legal competence, requisite courtroom experience, principled commitment to the law, and passion for the pursuit of justice. I believe these attributes will benefit our community while allowing me to continue working in a job that I absolutely love and feel passionate about.

I was born and raised in Spokane. It is an honor and privilege to serve this community I love and will forever consider my home. Having served as the Superior Court Judge since the Governor’s appointment, I am confident that I am well suited for this position and the best candidate in this judicial race.
Having served on the Law and Justice Council’s Strategic Planning Committee and CORE-team for the past several years, I have unique insights into the challenges that currently face our court system. Often times our court system is referred to as a “justice system” when in reality it is a legal system that does not always guarantee true justice. Therefore, it is vital for the judge to provide a venue to allow justice its best chance to prevail.

The following are some of the important issues facing the Superior Court system today:

• Time standards and docket congestion; • Access to justice is difficult due to the high cost of litigation; • Jail overcrowding with limited jail resources; • Lack of authority to sentence property crime offenders to court supervision or probation following jail terms (due to state law); • Need for courtroom technology improvements for use by all litigants; • Continued collaboration to implement evidence-based court improvements.

• As a Judge, I establish, communicate, and enforce reasonable time standards for case processing based on the individual preparation needs of each case to avoid unnecessary and costly delays. • I only grant continuances outside of established time standards, if the continuance is absolutely necessary to accomplish justice. • I take great care in structuring and preparing for the various dockets and case hearings to ensure court time is productive and not wasteful of any ones time. I start and conclude my dockets on time as scheduled. • I render decisions expeditiously without sacrificing thoughtful analysis or the proper legal evaluation. This can only be accomplished by having a strong work ethic to ensure I have prepared and evaluated decisions correctly and that my decisions reflect adherence to the law, are fair, and just. • I work collaboratively with all criminal justice stake-holders to improve our court system and ensure proposed improvements are evidence-based.
Both as a judge and former attorney I have handled some of the most serious cases that appear before the Superior Court bench. With 14 years of previous experience working as a prosecuting attorney, I had made daily court appearances in Superior Court litigating both civil and criminal matters. Throughout my career, I earned a community wide reputation for exhibiting legal competence, for demonstrating a strong work ethic; for having a principled commitment to fairness under the law and Constitution(s), for integrity, for treating all with respect, and for having a passion for public service. I was selected by our Governor for appointment to the bench following a rigorous application and screening process. I was formally evaluated by the Spokane County Bar’s Judicial Evaluation Committee in March of 2017 and received their highest rating issued, “Exceptionally Qualified.” I am endorsed by over 35 judicial officers, numerous elected officials, and nearly 100 local Spokane attorneys. logo


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