King County Council appoints new judge to Issaquah division

February 25, 2010

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 25, 2010

King County Council members have appointed Michael Finkle to serve as a judge in the Northeast Division of King County District Court. The division includes Issaquah, Sammamish, Bellevue, Redmond, Woodinville and parts of unincorporated King County.

The council appointed Finkle to the bench Monday. The judge will fill a new position authorized by the council last year to address increasing District Court caseloads.

The court — the largest court of limited jurisdiction in the state — has responsibility for traffic infractions, certain civil matters and misdemeanor criminal offenses in unincorporated King County, contract cities and for the adjudication of state offenses — or violations of state statute in the county or when the arresting agency is the Washington State Patrol or another state law enforcement agency.

“We had so many wonderful candidates that made this a most difficult decision,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, who represents Issaquah and Sammamish, said in a news release. “I am pleased that we were able to select a new judge who already is familiar with our Eastside communities and will be able to provide seamless expansion of our Northeast Division of District Court.

“I was impressed with this candidate’s commitment to the appearance of fairness and dedication to working to solve problems that create recidivism and to reduce disparities in the criminal justice system.”

Finkle will join the bench from the office of the Seattle City Attorney, where he had been working in the Public and Community Safety Division. Finkle also serves as an adjunct law professor at Seattle University. He graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and received a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Councilman Reagan Dunn — who represents unincorporated King County south of Issaquah, as well as Newcastle and Bellevue — praised Finkle. The councilman also serves as chairman of the council Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee.

“As an attorney who has spent significant time practicing in District Court, I can attest that Michael Finkle will be a fabulous judge,” Dunn said in the release.

District Court caseloads have increased each year since 2003; officials expect the caseload to increase further through 2011. Because of the increase in cases, the state Administrative Office of the Court — tasked with advising the Legislature about the number judicial positions needed in each county — recommended the number of King County District Court judges be increased.

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