Washington Court of Appeals
|Court of Appeals of Washington|
|Established||May 12, 1969|
|Jurisdiction||State of Washington
Counties are divided into one of three geographic appellate divisions
|Composition method||Non-partisan election with gubernatorial appointment to vacant seats|
|Authorized by||Wash. Const. Art. IV § 30
Wash. Rev. Code Chap. 2.06
|Decisions are appealed to||Supreme Court of Washington|
|Decisions are heard for appeals from||Superior Court of Washington|
|Judge term length||Six years|
|Number of positions||Division I—12 judges
Division II—8 judges
Division III—5 judges
|Chief Judge, Division I|
|Currently||James R. Verellen|
|Chief Judge, Division II|
|Chief Judge, Division III|
|Currently||George B. Fearing|
The need for an intermediate appellate court to relieve the heavy workload of the Washington Supreme Court was felt as far back as 1929 when the state's Judicial Council suggested the establishment of such a court as a possible option for judicial restructuring. However, nothing happened until the mid-1960s, when work began on a Court of Appeals.
A Constitutional Amendment was passed on November 5, 1968 authorizing the legislature to create a Court of Appeals, and to define its composition and jurisdiction. The legislature passed the enabling act, and a Court of Appeals, with three divisions with a total of 12 judges was established on May 12, 1969. The initial appointments were made by Governor Dan Evans with the judges all facing election at the general election of 1970 with each elected judge initially serving terms of two, four and six years determined by lot.
The Court currently has 22 judges, who sit in three geographic divisions. Within each division cases are heard by panels of three. There is no en banc procedure. Judges are elected for 6-year terms and must retire like the judges of the other Washington courts at the end of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 75.
By statute, the court is empowered to hear the following types of cases: 1. As a matter of right, all appeals from final judgments’ of the Superior Court, and all other orders that effectively cut-off further litigation, such as condemnation orders, termination of parental rights, juvenile court proceedings, and incompetency proceedings.
- All Personal Restraint Petitions (a statutory variation of the Writ of Habeas Corpus) 
- Writs of Mandamus and quo warranto (the Writ of Habeas Corpus is only available in Superior Court) 
- Appeals from decisions of administrative agencies.
- Discretionary Review of the Superior Court's decision in an appeal from a court of limited jurisdiction.
- Discretionary Review of interlocutory appeals from rulings of the Superior Court for which there is no other effective remedy.
Jurisdiction Precluded (Vested in the Supreme Court of Washington)
- Writs of quo warranto, prohibition, injunction or mandamus that are directed to state officials.
- Cases where the death penalty has been imposed.
- Cases where the validity of all or any part of a statute ot tax has been held to violate the state constitution, the US Constitution or federal law.
- Cases involving fundamental and urgent issues of broad public import requiring prompt and ultimate determination.
Division I sits in Seattle, and is the smallest of the three geographic divisions, though the largest by population. It stretches from the White River (to the extent it serves at part of King county's southern boundary) in the south to the Canada–US border in the north, and from the Cascade Range in the east to the San Juan Islands in the west. The division hears appeals from Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom. This division has ten judges:
- Marlin J. Appelwick
- Mary Kay Becker
- Ronald E. Cox
- Stephen J. Dwyer
- David Mann
- J. Robert Leach
- Ann Schindler
- Michael S. Spearman, Chief Judge
- Michael J. Trickey
- James R. Verellen, Acting Chief Judge
Division II sits in Tacoma and hears appeals from the counties of Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skamania (see note, infra.), Thurston and Wahkiakum. This division has seven judges:
- Thomas Bjorgen, Acting Chief Judge
- Lisa Sutton
- Jill Johanson, Chief Judge
- Linda Lee
- Bradley A. Maxa
- Rich Melnick
- Lisa R. Worswick
Division III sits in Spokane and includes the three-fifths of the state's land area that lies east of the Cascade Range. In addition to the state's second largest city, Spokane; it embraces the regional cities of Yakima and the Tri-Cities of Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland. It hears appeals from Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat (see note, infra.), Lincoln, Okanigan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman and Yakima counties. This division has five judges:
- Kevin Krosmo, Acting Chief Judge
- George B Fearing, Presiding Chief Judge
- Rebecca L. Pennell
- Robert Lawrence-Berrey
- Laurel Siddoway
Skamania County is in Division II; Klickitat County is in Division III. These counties are sparsely populated, so do not qualify for their own Superior Court Judge. They must share one Superior Court Judge. When the judge presides in Skamania County, Division II opinions are followed. When the judge presides in Klickitat County, Division III opinions are followed. When the Divisions issue conflicting opinions, practitioners must be careful to follow/cite from the appropriate appellate division.
- see generally Ch. 2.06 Rev. Code Wash.
- see generally Ch. 2.06 Rev. Code Wash.
- Wash. R.App.P 2.2, 6.1
- Wash. R.App.P. 16.1 et seq.
- Wash. R.App.P. 2.2.
- Wash. R.App.P 2.3
- 1969 Wash. Laws ch. 121