June 17, 2014 at 1:17 PM
The U.S. Senate has confirmed Sal Mendoza Jr. as the first Latino federal judge in Eastern Washington.
Mendoza was a Benton-Franklin Superior Court judge who worked as a lawyer, including time as an assistant attorney general and deputy prosecutor in Franklin County.
Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell both spoke in support of Mendoza before Tuesday’s vote.
The Eastern Washington federal district covers 20 counties east of the Cascades. It has courthouses in Spokane, Yakima and Richland.
The Tri-City Herald reports that Mendoza takes the position of Judge Lonny Suko, who served in Yakima. But Mendoza could swap offices with Judge Stan Bastian of Wenatchee who was recently confirmed to replace Judge Ed Shea in Richland. A switch would put Mendoza and Bastian closer to their home towns.
Suko and Shea have gone on senior status.