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Judgeship finalists cut to nine

Bar association’s top five all make commissioners’ list

Spokane County commissioners have chosen nine finalists for the District Court seat vacated in July by Judge Richard White.

Commissioners cut a field of 19 in half after discussing the applicants in a closed meeting earlier this week.

The finalists are:

• Randy Brandt, 59, a state administrative law judge since he was laid off in December 2009 after six years as a District Court commissioner. Previously in private practice.

• Chris Bugbee, 44, a criminal defense attorney who previously was a deputy prosecutor and ran unsuccessfully for prosecutor in last year’s primary election.

• Brad Chinn, 63, a former District Court commissioner who was laid off in a downsizing, and now is a state administrative law judge.

• Donald Kellman, 57, a solo practitioner who also is executive director of the Spokane New Car Dealers’ Association.

• Mark Laiminger, 53, who has been a Spokane County deputy prosecutor for 24 years. He ran for a District Court seat in 2006 and lost.

• Richard Leland, 58, who has mostly been in private practice since 1990. He was a city of Spokane assistant public defender for about a year.

• Julie McKay, 45, who has been in private practice for 20 years.

• Michael Nelson, 60, a Spokane County deputy prosecutor; previously in private and corporate practice, an assistant Spokane prosecutor and a Salt Lake City police officer.

• Robert Seines, 57, who served nearly 11 years as a District Court commissioner until the position was eliminated in December and he returned to private practice.

A Spokane County Bar Association committee rated Bugbee, Kellman, Leland, McKay and Seines exceptionally qualified.

The 11-member committee said Chinn, Laiminger and Nelson are well-qualified, and Brandt is qualified.

The finalists include all the applicants who were rated exceptionally qualified and all of those rated well-qualified except Gloria Ochoa.

The appointee will have to stand for election next fall.


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