Party: No party
City: Spokane, Washington
Education: Graduated from Edison High School in 1996, the College of William and Mary with a bachelor’s degree in 2000, and from the Whittier College School of Law in 2005.
Political experience: None
Work experience: Worked as an attorney for the Spokane County Public Defender’s Office for 10 years, negotiating cases, litigating motions, and trying cases for indigent clients charged with misdemeanors, felonies and dependencies. Spent two years in the Law Office of Lana C. Glenn, where she drafted appellate briefs. Was a mentor for Academic Success Program at Whittier College School of Law in California for two years.
Family: Married, two children.
Top priorities: Cook wants more consistency from the bench, meaning the public should be able to anticipate the application of the law from each judge. Says judges should consider alternatives to incarceration as they weigh the cost of limited resources against the benefit of jailing people for nonviolent offenses. Says she wants to clarify what it is judges do for their community by being more open and transparent while on the bench.
The race for a Spokane County Superior Court judgeship is partly about the race itself. Jocelyn Cook, who is vying to unseat incumbent Judge Tony Hazel in the November election, argues that the process of voting for a judge – an elected official who should be impartial and devoid of party affiliation – is a deeply flawed procedure.
Tony Hazel finished first in the primary to hold his Spokane County Superior Court seat, but he’ll likely have to face Jocelyn Cook to keep it.
All three Superior Court candidates were impressive, but Tony Hazel did receive higher evaluations and has shown leadership on criminal justice reforms.
When Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza died unexpectedly this year, several members of Spokane’s legal community threw their hat in the ring to fill the vacancy left by the longtime and well-respected presiding judge. In May, then-deputy prosecutor Tony Hazel rose above the rest of the applicants after being selected by Governor Jay Inslee as Cozza’s replacement. Many expected the ensuing election later this year to feature only one name on the ballot.