Two former county prosecuting attorneys and an eight-year veteran of the court commissioner’s office are seeking the Spokane County Superior Court Position No. 6 seat.
The former prosecutors are District Court Judge Sam F. Cozza and Spokane attorney Terence Ryan.
Attorney-turned-Court Commissioner Royce Moe is the other candidate trying to replace retiring Superior Court Judge Thomas Merryman.
If any of the three gets a majority vote in the primary, he is the winner. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters continue to the November election.
All three have worked on both sides of the bench. Moe had his own law firm before joining the Superior Court in 1988. Cozza worked as a prosecutor up to his election to District Court in 1990. He was re-elected without opposition in 1994.
Ryan has concentrated on solo legal practice for the past 16 years. Before that, he worked in the prosecutor’s office. He’s been a substitute judge for both Superior and District courts.
Court races are non-partisan, and the candidates have avoided taking shots at each other.
All three say their experience translates into an ability to be a fair judge.
They agree on the key issues facing Superior Court: dealing with court congestion through better efficiency, finding ways to attack the growing criminal caseloads; and finding support to add at least one more court judge.
“What people should look for in the job is the ability to handle people fairly. To treat people right,” said Merryman.
“That doesn’t always mean you make people happy. It means handling the issues fairly, and then deciding what you think is right.”
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: THE JOB Spokane County Superior Court judges serve four-year terms and are paid $99,015 annually.