Community Invited To Join Judge Candidate Forum

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Saturday, January 9, 2021 at 11:43 a.m.

The City of Spokane will host a virtual community forum on Tuesday featuring the three finalist candidates to fill the Municipal Court seat vacated by Judge Tracy Staab, who won election to the Court of Appeals in November.

Finalist candidates Deanna Crull, Kristin O’Sullivan, and Lynden Smithson will participate in the hour-long forum, which begins at 4 pm. Community members can watch it live on City Cable 5 or online at and on Facebook. They can ask a question of the candidates by logging into this link Candidates will make an opening statement about their qualifications, answer a question from the forum moderator, and take questions from the community.

  • Crull currently serves as a Pro Tem judge for the Airway Heights Municipal Court and Spokane County District Court and works as a private defense attorney. Crull began practicing law in 2006 and has also worked as a deputy city and county prosecutor.
  • O’Sullivan is currently a Spokane Municipal Court commissioner and has worked as an assistant city prosecutor, deputy county prosecutor, and as a private defense attorney. O’Sullivan began practicing law in 2004.
  • Smithson is the chief assistant for the City Prosecutor’s Office and has been with the office for 17 years. Smithson began practicing law in 1999 as a private defense attorney.

The finalists are all Gonzaga Law School graduates and were selected by a panel of City reviewers from a pool of a dozen applicants. Mayor Nadine Woodward will consider feedback from the community forum in appointing a replacement for the bench. The City Council must confirm the appointment.

Municipal Court is a court of limited jurisdiction with statutory authority to adjudicate criminal misdemeanors, civil infractions, and limited civil matters. A full job description is available on the City’s website.

This will be the first appointment of a Municipal Court judge since 2018 when Matthew Antush was selected to replace Judge Shelley Szambelan, who left her seat to be a Superior Court judge.

Minimum qualifications include considerable knowledge of the State of Washington criminal law and traffic procedures; methods of efficient juror utilization; the criminal justice system; and case-management techniques. Candidates must have a law degree, be admitted to practice law in the state, and live in Spokane County.