A former Richland resident has been appointed the newest Washington state Court of Appeals judge for the Spokane-based Division III.
Rebecca Pennell has been a trial attorney with the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho since 2000. The nonprofit corporation defends people accused of federal crimes.
Her appointment — announced last week by Gov. Jay Inslee — is effective this month.
“Pennell displays a deep commitment to public service in her role as an attorney and as an active member of her community,” Inslee said in a news release. “I am proud to appoint such a bright mind to this position, where I am sure she will excel.”
She replaces Acting Chief Judge Stephen Brown, who is retiring after serving on the bench for nearly 20 years.
Pennell is chair of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, was chair of the Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives Coordinating Committee from 2012-15, and has been a board member of the YWCA of Yakima and the Yakima Area Arboretum. She is fluent in Spanish.
Pennell attended a Richland high school, got a bachelor of arts from the University of Washington and graduated with distinction with a law degree from Stanford University. She was a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Robert H. Whaley.