PASCO -- A Richland attorney who has been filling in for retiring Pasco Municipal Court Judge Mary Ramirez while the city searched for a replacement might be the one to take her seat on the bench permanently.
The Pasco City Council will be asked Monday to confirm the appointment of Dave Petersen as Pasco's new judge.
Petersen has been a judge pro tem for the city for about 11 years, said Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield.
The only part of the judge job Petersen hasn't done is the administration. He would become the head of the 12-employee department.
"I have full confidence in his ability to do the job," Crutchfield said.
Municipal court handles traffic infractions, criminal misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors cited by Pasco police.
Last year, 10,074 cases were filed in municipal court, according to the state courts website.
The city received nine applications for the position. After interviewing some of the candidates, the screening committee unanimously chose Petersen for the position.
The municipal court judge job is appointed by the city manager with the council's approval.
The part-time position pays about $95,000 a year.
Petersen told the Herald he feels privileged to be considered by the city for the position.
"I'm excited about the opportunity," he said.
Petersen, a graduate of Houston's Thurgood Marshall School of Law, started his legal career as a Franklin County deputy prosecutor in 1997.
He started private practice in 1999 and has dealt with criminal defense, civil and family law and business issues. In 2000, he was appointed a judge pro tem in the Tri-Cities.
Last year, Petersen ran against Judge Joe Burrowes for a Benton County District Court judge position.
Petersen said he would be able to continue working with his firm, Cowan, Moore, Stam, Luke, Petersen & Carrier of Richland.
Crutchfield said the judge is allowed to continue to practice law, as long as it doesn't conflict with his or her duties as judge.
If approved Monday, Petersen will become the new judge in June.