Additional Information about Superior Court
The Presiding Judge is elected by the other Superior Court Judges to serve not less than two years. The Presiding Judge supervises the judicial business of the Superior Court, assigns cases to the trial departments, acts as the spokesperson for the court, directs the court administrator in implementing administrative and general court policy, and performs judicial and administrative duties as set forth in General Rule 29. Judges serve as Chief Criminal Judge, Juvenile Court Judge, Family Law Judge and Drug Court Judge on a rotation basis as appointed by the Presiding Judge.
The Chief Criminal Judge presides over first appearances, arraignments, motions, status and pretrial conferences. The Juvenile Court Judge is responsible for the operation of the Juvenile Court and manages the Juvenile caseload and the Juvenile Drug Court. Two Family Law Judges hear family court matters and manage assigned caseloads. One Plea Judge presides over guilty plea and sentencing hearings.
The Drug Court Judge is responsible for the Spokane County Behavioral Health Therapeutic Drug Court and presides over trials as needed. The Juvenile Court Services Judge is responsible for the Juvenile Drug Court. The remaining Judges function as trial departments managing assigned caseloads and presiding over all types of cases. All of the Judges and Court Commissioners meet regularly to set administrative and general court policy.
Each Judge employs a judicial assistant who manages the Judge’s caseload, maintains order in the courtroom, supervises jurors, and coordinates courtroom activities. Each Judge employs a court reporter to make a verbatim record of court proceedings. If a particular case is appealed, this record is transcribed for reference on appeal. A courtroom clerk assigned to each court keeps a journal of the proceedings and processes exhibits.
Six Court Commissioners are appointed by the Superior Court Judges. Spokane County’s Court Commissioners have some of the same powers and duties of the Judges and sit as Judges pro tempore if all parties agree to have their case heard by a Commissioner. The Court Commissioners are assigned certain ex parte, domestic, juvenile and mental illness proceedings. The Court Commissioners do not hear criminal cases or jury trials.
In addition to providing general administrative support to the Court, the Superior Court Administrator’s Office implements court policies and procedures, manages the jury system, schedules cases, and prepares and administers the court budget.