Washington Court of Appeals

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Court of Appeals of Washington
SealWn App.png
EstablishedMay 12, 1969
JurisdictionState of Washington
Counties are divided into one of three geographic appellate divisions
LocationDivision I—Seattle
Division II—Tacoma
Division III—Spokane
Composition methodNon-partisan election with gubernatorial appointment to vacant seats
Authorized byWash. Const. Art. IV § 30
Wash. Rev. Code Chap. 2.06
Appeals toSupreme Court of Washington
Appeals fromSuperior Court of Washington
Judge term lengthSix years
Number of positionsDivision I—12 judges
Division II—8 judges
Division III—5 judges
WebsiteWashington Courts
Chief Judge, Division I
CurrentlyMarlin J. Appelwick
Chief Judge, Division II
CurrentlyBradley A. Maxa
Chief Judge, Division III
CurrentlyRebecca Pennell
Division map
Washington Court of Appeals divisions.svg

The Washington Court of Appeals is the intermediate level appellate court for the state of Washington.

The court is divided into three divisions. Division I is based in Seattle, Division II is based in Tacoma, and Division III is based in Spokane.


As early as 1929, the Washington judiciary observed a need for an intermediate appellate court to relieve the heavy workload of the Washington Supreme Court. That year the state's Judicial Council suggested the establishment of such a court as a possible option for judicial restructuring. Nevertheless, the state legislature took no steps until the mid-1960s, when work began on a Court of Appeals.

The Washington citizenry adopted a Constitutional Amendment on November 5, 1968, which authorized the legislature to create a Court of Appeals and to define its composition and jurisdiction. On May 12, 1969, the legislature passed the enabling act that established a Court of Appeals with three divisions and a total of twelve judges. Governor Dan Evans appointed the initial twelve judges with the judges all facing election at the general election of 1970 and with each elected judge initially serving terms of two, four or six years determined by lot.[1]


Twenty-two judges currently sit on the Washington Court of Appeals Court, divided into three geographic divisions. Within each division, panels of three judges hear each appeal. The court never sits en banc. Voters elect Court of Appeals judges for 6-year terms, and a judge, like other Washington judges, must retire at the end of the calendar year in which he or she reaches the age of 75.[2] Each division contains three electoral districts, with judges within the divisions being elected only from within those districts.


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.[3]

Jurisdiction precluded (vested in the Supreme Court of Washington)[edit]


Division I[edit]

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, Chief Judge
  • David S. Mann, Acting Chief Judge
  • Beth M. Andrus, Judge
  • John H. Chun, Judge
  • Cecily Hazelrigg-Hernandez, Judge
  • J. Robert Leach, Judge
  • Stephen J. Dwyer, Judge
  • Ann Schindler, Judge
  • Lori K. Smith, Judge
  • James R. Verellen, Judge
  • Nelson Lee, Judge

Division II[edit]

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:

  • Anne Cruser
  • Rebecca Glasgow
  • Linda Lee, Acting Chief Judge
  • Bradley A. Maxa, Chief Judge
  • Rich Melnick
  • Lisa L. Sutton
  • Lisa Worswick

Division III[edit]

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:

  • Tracy Staab
  • George B. Fearing
  • Rebecca L. Pennell, Chief Judge
  • Robert E. Lawrence-Berrey, Jr.
  • Laurel H. Siddoway

Skamania and Klickitat counties[edit]

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.


  1. ^ see generally Ch. 2.06 Rev. Code Wash.
  2. ^ see generally Ch. 2.06 Rev. Code Wash.
  3. ^ Wash. R.App.P 2.2, 6.1
  4. ^ Wash. R.App.P. 16.1 et seq.
  5. ^ Id.
  6. ^ Wash. R.App.P. 2.2.
  7. ^ Wash. R.App.P 2.3
  8. ^ 1969 Wash. Laws ch. 121

External links[edit]