August 4, 2021

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Beyond law

Tri-Towns, WA prosecutor most recent Benton County District decide

A town prosecutor was decided on this 7 days to swap a retiring choose in Benton County District Court.

James Bell was appointed by the county commissioners on a unanimous vote.

The Tri-Citian, who is in his 28th year of training law, beat out fellow finalists Jennifer Azure and Diana Ruff.

He will provide out the remaining 1 1/2 decades of Choose Steve Osborne’s term.

Osborne was appointed to the bench in December 2015 following Decide Bob Ingvalson’s mid-time period retirement. He was past elected in 2018.

Osborne’s retirement goes into impact the close of this month.

Bell will sign up for District Court’s four other judges: Katy Butler, Terry Tanner, Dan Kathren and John Ziobro.

District Court docket judges serve 4-yr terms and make an once-a-year income just over $190,000. They preside more than misdemeanors and gross misdemeanor prison scenarios, website traffic infractions and small claims.

Bell’s legislation firm — Bell Brown & Rio of Kennewick — is below deal to tackle town conditions in a couple jurisdictions, which includes Pasco and Richland.

He was admitted to observe law in November 1992, and earlier labored as a Franklin County deputy prosecutor.

Previous judicial openings

This is not the first time he tried using to be appointment to the bench.

In 2015, Bell was just one of the 4 finalists when Osborne was chosen by commissioners. And in March 2017, he yet again was a finalist when the board went with John Ziobro to fill the seat vacated by now-Remarkable Courtroom Choose Joe Burrowes.

Azure also was a finalist in 2015 and 2017. She is a legal defense attorney who’s focused on juvenile scenarios in current years, and serves as a decide pro tem in diverse Tri-Metropolitan areas courts.

Ruff, a previous Benton County deputy prosecutor, is a judge with the Washington point out Place of work of Administrative Hearings.

Twelve men and women applied for the exceptional appointment option to the nonpartisan judicial publish.

The other nine were being: Shelley Ajax condition Sen. Sharon Brown Joshua Lilly Julie Extended Mary Poland John Raekes Tali Sams Brendan Siefken and Alan Tindell.

Azure topped the Benton Franklin Counties Bar Affiliation poll for “overall first choice” of the 12 first candidates. She obtained 23 votes, with Bell and Ruff both equally finding 11.5 votes.

The county held a special board meeting Tuesday afternoon to job interview the a few finalists separately.

The commissioners then spent nearly 30 minutes in govt session in advance of returning to just take a vote.

Commissioner Shon Smaller commenced the brief discussion by thanking Bell, Azure and Ruff for placing their “names in the hat and staying stellar, stellar candidates for judge.”

“Whatever comes about, please set your name in once more simply because I consider all 3 of you will be a decide, both a District Court choose or a Excellent Court docket judge,” Modest ongoing. “You guys have the high-quality and the ethics that I would like to see as a sitting down decide.”

Tiny designed a movement to appoint Bell.

Commissioner Will McKay seconded the movement, expressing Little “took the words and phrases out of my mouth.”

Linked stories from Tri-City Herald

Kristin M. Kraemer handles the judicial program and crime challenges for the Tri-Metropolis Herald. She has been a journalist for extra than 20 years in Washington and California.