Matthew Antush was attending a Drug Court graduation Thursday when he received an important phone call. Antush walked out into the hallway and was instructed to call human resources to learn that he had just become a judge.
“When I called back, I was told the mayor was going to announce (Friday) that he was going to appoint me,” Antush said. “I was stunned and pleased.”
Spokane Mayor David Condon on Friday announced he had appointed Antush, who has worked the past 25-plus years as a public defender, as the next Municipal Court judge.
Antush replaces Judge Shelley Szambelan who earlier this year was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to replace the retiring Linda Tompkins as a Superior Court judge.
“Matt has a great reputation among the legal community, and his experience and extensive knowledge of the situations of the people who interact with Municipal Court make him the right fit for the bench,” Condon said in a news release.
Antush, who graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law and was admitted to the bar in 1992, will serve the remainder of Szambelan’s term in Municipal Court, which expires in 2021. He would have to seek re-election to continue on the bench.
Antush was interviewed for the appointment last week by two panels of community members and city staff after he was named one of three finalists to replace Szambelan, according to the news release.
“You have confidence that you can do the job. That’s why you apply,” Antush said. “But to think that someone else thinks you can do the job is really humbling.”
Antush is married to Kristi Antush, a registered nurse at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. They have two daughters, ages 12 and 9.
Antush said he’s not sure when he will begin his new job. He transferred from the city’s public defender office to the county in January 2017.
Spokane County Public Defender Tom Krzyminski said he was impressed with the work Antush did for the county.
“He had been working on dependency cases. Last December, he was selected to be our Drug Court attorney,” Krzyminski said. “I heard nothing but praise from his work in both of those areas. He will be missed.”
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