Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Appointments to Spokane Co. Superior Court
January 10, 2003
Thank you Judge Sypolt for that kind introduction.
It is a pleasure to be here today.
I appreciate all of you taking time out of your busy schedules to attend today’s announcement.
Today I have the privilege of coming to Spokane County to appoint two new judges, kind of a judicial “double-play.”
Although, given the recent success of the Gonzaga basketball team, maybe I should try some basketball metaphors instead!
I am pleased to be here personally to recognize the vital role that judges and the court system play in our society.
As a lawyer and former deputy prosecutor, the appointment of judges is something I take very, very seriously.
I have a deep and abiding commitment to the independence and integrity of the judicial branch of our government.
Our judges, more than anyone else, sustain that independence and integrity in the eyes of the public. Yet they receive very little recognition.
I strongly believe that our judges are among our state’s everyday heroes.
Their work is so very important, as they preside over cases that are monumental to the individuals before the court.
Marriage dissolutions, child custody, personal injuries, business disputes, and criminal cases are life altering to the people before the courts.
Therefore, our citizens deserve the best, brightest and hardest-working judges.
Only through the appointment of quality judges can we build more respect for the judiciary, our judicial system, and our democracy.
That is why we looked long and hard for individuals with demonstrated leadership ability and skills to adapt to the wide variety of demands placed on a Superior Court judge.
Judges Donohue and Murphy
But before I announce our new appointees, I would like to say a few words about Judges Michael Donohue and James Murphy, who are leaving the bench.
Judge Donohue is one of our state’s most respected judges.
He has served the court with honor since 1981.
And has been the senior member of the Spokane Superior Court.
Throughout his career, Judge Donohue has been a leader in judicial education on many diverse subjects, including technology, ethics, and caseload management.
For 15 years, he has presented an annual law and literature colloquium for judges in conjunction with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Sounds like a fascinating event!
He is a frequent faculty member at judicial conferences and legal seminars throughout the Pacific Northwest.
His contributions have been tremendous, and the Court will miss his experience and wisdom.
Judge Murphy is also a longtime leader in the Spokane legal community.
He has served as a Superior Court judge since 1985.
Judge Murphy is truly a local product.
Born in Spokane, he attended Washington State and Eastern Washington Universities and Gonzaga Law School.
He has served as chair of the state’s Board for Judicial Administration and president of the Washington State Association of Superior Court Judges.
And in 2002, he was named Washington State’s Outstanding Judge by the state Bar Association.
My office recently received a call from a constituent praising Judge Murphy for his fairness and compassion toward a citizen suffering from a mental illness.
This is but one example of his many outstanding attributes as a judge.
Judges Donohue and Murphy are retiring from the court to start an arbitration and mediation company together.
We wish them both the best as they embark on this new career path.
Appoint New Judges
The search to replace these two outstanding judges was grueling and competitive.
There were many excellent candidates, making this a very difficult but satisfying decision.
First and foremost, we needed someone with unquestionably solid legal skills and experience.
Someone with the demeanor, temperament, and wisdom to bring efficient, understandable justice to the people.
Choosing from the talented pool of candidates was hard.
We consulted with a lot of people:
· Leaders and members of the Spokane County Bar Association
· Judges of the Superior, Appeals, and Supreme Court
· The Attorney General
· The Spokane County Prosecutor and the Public Defenders
· And many others who have dealt with the candidates professionally.
Many people whose opinions I respect very much called me.
Each of the candidates had different strengths and different backgrounds.
Eventually, it all became clear.
There were two candidates who had the just the right combination of experience, demeanor, intelligence and life experiences to fill these vacancies.
It is with great pleasure and honor that I hereby appoint Maryann Moreno and Jerome Leveque to the Spokane County Superior Court.
Maryann grew up back east and attended Kean College of New Jersey as an undergraduate.
Wanting to experience the great west, she attended law school at Gonzaga and eventually settled in Spokane.
She was admitted to the Washington bar in 1983.
After law school, Maryann worked for the public defender for seven years.
She handled the standard range of cases from misdemeanors to felonies, including death penalty cases.
She opened her own firm in 1989, and now has a broad legal practice, including criminal defense, family law, and personal injury litigation.
Maryann has an impressive history of professional service.
She is currently a trustee for the Spokane County Bar Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Defender Association.
She is a speaker at many continuing legal education seminars, mostly on the subject of ethics.
Maryann also is active in the community as a member of the Lutheran Community Services Advisory Council.
Maryann is a tremendously experienced attorney.
She has been a model of professionalism throughout her career.
Her integrity and ethics have been lauded by her colleagues in the legal community.
Clearly, Maryann has the legal skills, the demeanor, and the experience to be a top-notch judge.
Jerome Leveque graduated from the University of Montana with a BS in Business Administration, and he graduated from Gonzaga Law School in 1982.
Jerry has worked extensively both in the private sector and in the legal community.
He started out in the insurance industry, rising to the position of regional claims manager for United Pacific.
His work included investigating and negotiating settlements.
From that job, he was drawn to the law, and so he attended law school at night while he worked.
After receiving his degree, Jerry began working as a trial attorney, representing both defendants and plaintiffs in civil, contractual, and business litigation.
He then started his own firm in 1988 and specializes in complex litigation.
Jerry is also an active mediator and is serving as a Superior Court arbiter.
Jerry has a long record of professional service.
He has been a contributor to the Washington Civil Procedure Deskbook, and a frequent presenter at CLE seminars.
Jerry recently received special recognition from his peers for his outstanding work.
He was a Washington Law and Politics Super Lawyer nominee and the Spokane County Bar Association’s choice for the Professionalism Award.
Clearly, Jerry has the skills and experience needed to be a tremendous success as a judge.
Congratulations, Maryann and Jerry, and welcome to the Spokane County Superior Court.
The Spokane County Superior Court represents a tremendous amount of talent, experience, and wisdom.
I am pleased to be adding Maryann Moreno and Jerome Leveque to a branch of government that is so important to our democratic system.