Gov. Inslee Names Thurston County Superior Court Commissioner as Ninth Judge

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Gov. Jay Inslee appointed a new ninth judge to Thurston County Superior Court on Friday.

Court Commissioner Indu Thomas will fill the new role on Nov. 1, according to a news release.

The announcement comes about five months after Inslee signed a law to authorize a ninth judge.

"For well over a decade, Indu has built a reputation as an outstanding jurist in her role as a Thurston County Superior Court Commissioner," Inslee said in the release. "With this robust experience, I expect her to be well prepared to transition to the Superior Court bench."

Though Thomas fills a new position, the court will lose Judge Erik Price by the end of the September. Earlier this month, Inslee appointed Price to the Court of Appeals, Division Two to replace retiring Judge Lisa L. Sutton.

Thomas will enter the judicial role at a time when the county's court system continues to be understaffed and burdened by backlogs created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Washington Supreme Court's February 2021 State v. Blake decision, the Olympian previously reported.

The county and state will each fund half the cost for Thomas's new position. Though Inslee appointed her for now, the position will be up for election in 2022, the Olympian previously reported.

As a Commissioner, Thomas has presided over family and juvenile court matters since 2007. She has previously worked as staff counsel for the Washington State Senate and before that as an attorney focused on mental health and juvenile litigation, per the release.

Thomas has served as board member and honorary board member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington since 2003, according to the release.

Additionally, the release says she has been on the board of Find Your Future, a civic organization that helps high school students explore careers.

She earned her law degree at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and her bachelor's degree at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, per the release.

People interested in filling Price's position can still apply by Sept. 27, according to a notice of judicial vacancy.

Inslee will automatically consider all candidates who have previously applied for appointment to Thurston County Superior Court in 2021, per the notice.

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