President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Rice to become the next federal judge for the Eastern District of Washington.
Rice, of Spokane, said Wednesday that he was informed by the White House that he should not make any public comments and declined an interview request.
Rice, who has been a federal prosecutor since 1987, was recommended over Spokane attorney Les Weatherhead and Wenatchee attorney Stanley Bastian, who were nominated by U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.
If confirmed, Rice would replace U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley, who took senior status in 2009.
Anonymous gift will benefit area’s youth
An anonymous donor has created a new $3.5 million fund to support youth programs in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.
The money will be managed by the Inland Northwest Community Foundation, which oversees investment and disbursement of 305 funds valued at $68 million, said spokeswoman PJ Watters.
The new fund is the fourth-largest to be handled by INCF since its founding in 1974.
“This money will provide a benefit for many years,” Watters said.
The donor has family roots in the Spokane region and will help direct the use of the funds in coming years.
State suspends Steele’s law license
Idaho attorney Edgar Steele won’t be representing any Washington clients from his jail cell.
The Washington Supreme Court on Wednesday suspended Steele from practicing in the state pending disciplinary proceedings that could result in disbarment.
Steele, of Sagle, Idaho, faces at least 30 years in a federal prison for his May 5 conviction on four charges related to his attempt to have another man kill his wife and mother-in-law.
He is in federal custody, awaiting sentencing in August.
Prior to the case, Steele was best known for his unsuccessful defense of Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler.
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