Five seek to succeed Poyfair as judge

Two work for county prosecutor’s office, three are in private practice

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

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Five attorneys have applied for a gubernatorial appointment to the Clark County Superior Court bench.

The applicants, who met a March 2 deadline, are seeking to fill a seat that will be vacated by Judge Edwin Poyfair, whose last day at work will be April 30.

Poyfair, 68, said in January that he would retire and move to Arizona.

His replacement will be appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire but then will have to elected in November to retain the seat. The applicants are: Camara Banfield, Greg Gonzales, Josephine Townsend, Darryl Walker and Bob Yoseph.

Banfield and Walker work for the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office.

Gonzales, Townsend and Yoseph are in private practice.

Interviews are tentatively scheduled for March 19 and 20 with Narda Pierce, Gregoire’s legal counsel, said Pierce’s assistant, Susan Beatty, on Wednesday.

After interviewing the candidates and conducting reference checks, Beatty said Pierce will likely recommend two finalists to be interviewed by Gregoire.

Beatty said they are reserving time for Gregoire to conduct the interviews on April 10, but interviews could be postponed.

Of the 10 judges on the Clark County Superior Court bench, three Rich Melnick, Scott Collier and Dan Stahnke have been appointed by Gregoire.

Superior Court judges preside over felony criminal cases, civil cases involving more than $75,000, divorces, probate cases, juvenile cases and other matters.

They currently earn $148,836 a year.

Poyfair joined the bench in 1992.

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.