King County jurist announces bid for high court

By DAVID AMMONS The Associated Press
5/8/02 4:54 PM

OLYMPIA (AP) -- King County Superior Court Judge Michael Spearman on
Wednesday announced his bid for the state Supreme Court.

He's the second candidate for the seat held by veteran Justice Charles Z.
Smith, who is retiring at the end of the year.  Olympia attorney Jim
Johnson, a former assistant attorney general who defended the state's
"blanket" primary, also is seeking the six-year term.

Spearman, who drew over 500 supporters to his announcement event in
Seattle, said he has lined up bipartisan support and the endorsement of
more than 100 judges, including Justices Bobbe Bridge, Tom Chambers, and
Faith Ireland.

His campaign said Johnson is "best known as the lawyer for Tim Eyman's
campaigns" and that Spearman is better prepared for the bench, including
service as a judge.

"Our Supreme Court needs a justice with judicial trial court experience, a
reputation for leadership, hard work and fairness, and a willingness to
approach each case with an open mind and listen to differing points of
view," Spearman said.

King County Executive Ron Sims, a Democrat, said Spearman "has done an
outstanding job presiding over ...  thousands of tough criminal and civil
cases that affect the lives of Washington citizens every day.  He brings
extensive judicial and trial experience, a commitment to building better
communities and a record of service that is beyond reproach."

King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng, a Republican, said Spearman "has
devoted his life's work to increasing safety and justice in our
communities.   His record as a judge and a trial lawyer demonstrate the
kind of tireless commitment and thoroughness of mind necessary in a state

Spearman is also endorsed by King County Sheriff Dave Reichert, former
U.S.  Attorney Mike McKay, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, Tacoma Mayor Bill
Baarsma, Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel, five King County Council
members and four state lawmakers.

Spearman has been on the bench for nine years.  He was appointed by
then-Gov.  Mike Lowry in June 1993 and won a contested race that fall.  He
won re-election in 1996 and 2000.  He served a term as presiding judge of
the criminal division, managing 22 judges who handled over 10,000 cases a

He has a political science degree from Brown University and a law degree
from New York University.  Before coming to Washington state in 1983 to
become a public defender, he worked at the Georgetown University Law
Center, representing criminal defendants.

He is married to King County District Court Judge Mariane Spearman.
They have two young children.

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