Greg Sypolt, a Spokane public defender for the past 17 years, was named the newest judge of Spokane County’s Superior Court.
Gov. Mike Lowry made the appointment Friday, filling a position that becomes effective Jan. 1.
Spokane County commissioners decided this past week the extra judge was needed to manage an increasing Superior Court caseload.
The 47-year-old Sypolt acknowledged he’s been dreaming of being a judge for several years.
He ran unsuccessfully in 1984 for a District Court seat.
Last year, when Lowry was preparing to fill a Superior Court vacancy, Sypolt scored highest on a survey sent to area judges and attorneys.
“Judges play a crucial role in the system,” Sypolt said. “It’s an awesome responsibility and I’m looking forward to it.”
Sypolt, a 1976 Gonzaga University Law School graduate, is the first public defender to get a seat on the Spokane Superior Court bench.
His public defender experience sharpened his commitment to community service and to “helping your fellow man,” he said after the appointment was announced.
“I’m going to miss this office and the daily relationships here,” he added.
Sypolt will have to stand for election next fall if he wants to remain on the bench. His annual salary is $99,015 - half of which is paid by the state, half by the county.
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