Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Sept. 22, 2021

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Clark County Council appoints senior prosecutor as District Court judge

James Smith to fill position of former Judge Darvin Zimmerman

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

The Clark County Council has appointed Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Smith to replace District Court Judge Darvin Zimmerman, who retired from the bench June 30.

Smith was one of two finalists for the open seat; District Court Commissioner Todd George also had a second-round interview with the council Monday.

“We had some very wonderful candidates,” Council Chair Eileen Quiring O’Brien said in a county statement. “We are blessed in Clark County to have such great choices. I think James Smith will do an exceptional job on the bench.”

The councilors thanked everyone who participated in the appointment process and “noted they were exceptionally well qualified,” the county said.

Smith is the team leader for the Arthur D. Curtis Children’s Justice Center. He was previously assigned to the prosecutor’s office’s Major Crimes Unit for more than four years. Before joining the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, he served as chief criminal deputy prosecutor for Cowlitz County.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and juris doctor from Mississippi State University.

Smith said in a phone interview Wednesday he is humbled by the appointment and looks forward to the next stage in his legal career.

“It was obvious to me that the council had several very strongly qualified candidates that they were considering. I appreciated that, after a very thoughtful and deliberative process, I was selected,” Smith said.

Smith will need to run for election in 2022 in order to keep the Department 3 seat. District Court judges serve four-year terms; all District Court judge positions are up for election in 2022.

Zimmerman retired from the seat after temporarily stepping away in March following calls for his resignation over his comments about a young Black man killed by Clark County deputies

According to the county website, monthly pay for District Court judges is $15,843, or $190,116 annually, effective July 1, 2020.

For more information about District Court, visit the county’s website at