Public defender Marybeth Dingledy appointed to county Superior Court

EVERETT — Veteran public defender Marybeth Dingledy will become Snohomish County’s newest face on the Superior Court bench.

Gov. Chris Gregoire met with Dingledy on Wednesday afternoon for a short interview. Dingledy, 42, was driving back from Olympia when she got word that she’d been selected to fill the seat held by Judge Ronald Castleberry.

Castleberry, a former public defender and longtime jurist, plans to retire at the end of the month.

“I really love my current job, and it will be hard to go, but I look forward to rendering justice from a different vantage point for the community as a whole,” Dingledy said Thursday.

Dingledy’s appointment is the second in Snohomish County in the past few weeks. Gregoire recently appointed former county prosecutor Janice Ellis to the bench after Judge Kenneth Cowsert retired in December.

Dingledy had interviewed for that seat, so Gregoire was well-acquainted with her before Wednesday’s meeting.

“Marybeth has proven she lets nothing get in her way,” Gregoire said in press release. “I’m incredibly impressed with her drive and determination, which are equally matched by her thoughtfulness and compassion. That’s an important combination to serve citizens well.”

Dingledy was a deputy prosecutor in King County for a few months before she joined Snohomish County’s Public Defender’s Association in 1996.

As a public defender, she has represented people accused of all kinds of crimes. She’s been in more than 100 jury trials, including some complicated, high-profile cases. Dingledy served as the public defender for the county’s drug court, and also supervised attorneys in the county’s district courts.

“Marybeth is a very hard worker with a great deal of passion. Her sense of justice makes her very careful at what she does,” said Bill Jaquette, the director of the public defender’s association and Dingledy’s current boss.

In 2010, Dingledy’s fellow Snohomish County lawyers, including many she faced off with in court, named her attorney of the year.

“Marybeth has worked with our office with integrity, credibility, openness and honesty,” Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe said. “I think she is a great addition to the bench. I couldn’t be happier for her.”

She expects to begin judicial college at the end of the month. She, along with all the Superior Court judges, are up for election this year.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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