About Superior Court
Spokane County Superior Court is one of 39 Superior Courts in Washington. There is one Superior Court serving each county, although some smaller counties have been combined to form 31 judicial districts. Spokane County has 12 Superior Court Judges elected to 4-year terms. In addition to certain special assignments, Spokane County Superior Court Judges and Commissioners hear and decide cases assigned to them by the Presiding Judge.
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. All of the Judges and Court Commissioners meet regularly to set administrative and general court policy.
The Presiding Judge is elected by the other Superior Court Judges to serve not less than 2 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 Therapeutic Court Judge on a rotation basis as appointed by the Presiding Judge.
Chief Criminal Judge
The Chief Criminal Judge presides over felony arraignments, motions, status and pretrial conferences and manages the criminal caseload in all pretrial matters.
Therapeutic Court Judge
The Therapeutic Courts Judge is responsible for the Spokane County Behavioral Health Adult Felony Therapeutic Courts including Drug Court, Felony Mental Health Court, and Co-Occurring Disorders docket. The remaining Judges function as trial departments managing assigned caseloads and presiding over all types of cases.
Eight 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 Criminal Court Commissioner hears the First Appearance docket. Court Commissioners do not handle jury trials.