EVERETT — Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed two new Snohomish County Superior Court judges, one a civil litigator and the other already a court commissioner.
The two new judges bring the court’s total to 17, as officials look to address a backlog of criminal and civil cases. Last month, over 1,400 criminal cases remained pending in Superior Court, according to the prosecutor’s office. Thousands more civil and domestic cases were in need of a judge.
State lawmakers unanimously approved the funding earlier this year for two more Superior Court judges to help get through the backlog. Presiding Judge George Appel said the court already needed more judges prior to COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the criminal justice system. A 2020 analysis by the state Administrative Office of the Courts found Snohomish County needed about 1½ more judges.
On May 25, Inslee appointed Miguel Duran, a civil litigator with Seattle-based Wilson Smith Cochran Dickerson. He co-founded the firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Before joining the firm in 2019, he worked as a trial attorney for Allstate and on employment disputes for Service Employees International Union Local 925. And from 2008 to 2013, he was a public defender in Everett and Seattle.
On the volunteer side, he has judged youth mock trial programs, according to the governor’s office.
Duran received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and his law degree from the New York University School of Law.
“Miguel has the skills and breadth of professional experience — including jury trial experience — to flourish as a judicial officer and help the court address its needs,” Inslee said in a statement.
And on June 10, Inslee appointed Patrick Moriarty, who has been a Superior Court commissioner since 2018. That position is different from a judge in that it only oversees family law, probate and other proceedings. Before that, he worked privately in criminal defense and family law throughout Snohomish County. And he also prosecuted cases as assistant city attorney for Seattle from 1999 to 2001, according to his LinkedIn.
He got his bachelor’s from the University of Massachusetts and his law degree from the Western New England College School of Law.