Retiring Superior Court judge to serve on Everett bench

This 2012 photo shows Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne in Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett. (Mark Mulligan / The Herald, file)

This 2012 photo shows Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne in Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett. (Mark Mulligan / The Herald, file)

EVERETT — A Snohomish County Superior Court judge likely will be appointed to serve on Everett Municipal Court’s bench until next fall’s election.

Mayor Ray Stephanson recently announced that he intends to tap Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne for the job. The position has been open since July, when longtime Municipal Court Judge Timothy O’Dell retired.

The city has been using pro tem judges in the interim.

Stephanson approached Wynne this summer about stepping in.

Wynne, 73, is retiring from Superior Court in January. He had intended to serve two more years on the bench but decided not to seek re-election when another lawyer filed for the position in May. The state constitution would have forced Wynne to leave office at the end of the year he turns 75.

Wynne said he isn’t quite ready to hang up his robe.

“I appreciate Mayor Stephanson’s confidence in me. I have 38 years of judicial experience to offer the city. I was born in Everett and grew up and graduated high school here. My family goes back several generations in Everett,” Wynne said. “I think it’s appropriate that I complete my judicial career at Everett Municipal Court.”

The court’s two judges hear misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, infractions and parking cases. About 25,000 cases are filed each year in the municipal court.

Wynne’s appointment will have to be confirmed by the City Council. To make way for Wynne’s appointment, the council also will have to pass an ordinance allowing the mayor to select an interim judge who lives outside city limits.

The council is expected to vote on the ordinance this week. Those seeking to be elected to the bench in the fall still would need to live in the city.

Stephanson spoke with many people about the position but was having difficulty finding qualified candidates who live in Everett and who were willing to take a temporary job, city spokeswoman Meghan Pembroke said.

“The mayor wanted to find someone who wasn’t interested in running,” she said. “He wants to let the people elect their next judge.”

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

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