Gov. Jay Inslee and his legal counsel are reviewing applications from two candidates to replace Okanogan County Superior Court Chris Culp, who is retiring March 31 after 35 years on the bench.
Robert Grim, who recently resigned as one of Okanogan County’s District Court judges to focus on his private law practice in Winthrop, and Leone Reinbold, an attorney in Okanogan, have submitted applications to the governor.
Inslee’s legal counsel will interview Grim and Reinbold this week and follow up in other discussions with people in Okanogan County as part of the vetting process, Inslee Press Secretary Mike Faulk said. The counsel will make a recommendation to the governor soon thereafter, with the goal of announcing the appointment in February, Faulk said.
Whoever is selected will need to file for the November election and win, in order to serve out the remainder of Judge Culp’s term, which runs through the end of 2024.
Culp was elected to the Okanogan County District Court in 1986 after four years in private practice. He was appointed to Superior Court when a new position was established in 2011. Culp was elected to full terms in his current position in 2012, 2016 and 2020. He was unopposed in those elections.
Culp said in 2020 when he announced that he would seek re-election, but that it would be his final four-year term on the bench.
Grim was a District Court judge for the county from 2015 through this January, handling criminal and civil cases, misdemeanor crimes, traffic infractions and protection orders. Starting in 2019, he was presiding judge, responsible for setting court policies and overseeing staff.
Grim has been an attorney in private practice with Kuehler & Grim in Winthrop since June 2021, where he specializes in real estate, probate, business, civil litigation and family law. He was a criminal defense attorney in Wenatchee for three years before becoming District Court judge. Grim is the board president for Room One, the social service agency in Twisp.
Because the Superior Court judge is a full-time position, Grim said if he’s appointed, he would have to wrap up matters at his private practice.
Reinbold has been an attorney with Reinbold & Gardner in Okanogan since 2004, where she handles real estate, probate, estate planning, family law and criminal defense cases. She has been a pro tem judge in Okanogan County District Court since 2014, filling in for other judges.
Reinbold is active in the organization Anti-Racism in Okanogan County. She is a board member of several local organizations, including the Okanogan County Bar Association, the Okanogan Chamber of Commerce, and Okanogan Family Planning.
Henry Rawson is the county’s other Superior Court judge. He was appointed to the position in 2011, elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2016 and 2020.