Huber takes seat on the bench

Judge Brian C. Huber in his judge’s chambers at the Douglas County Courthouse on April 9. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

 

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

After 20 years serving as Douglas County Superior Court Judge, John Hotchkiss retired March 31.

Brian C. Huber, a partner at the firm Jeffers, Danielson, Sonn & Aylward (JDSA) in Wenatchee, was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to serve in Hotchkiss’s position until the Nov. 5 general election.

Huber was sworn into office in a ceremony on March 29.

Huber, who had been with JDSA for 22 years, said in an interview April 9 that he had been thinking about the possibility of running for a judge position over the past five or six years as various positions in the region opened up through retirements.

In a way, though, he had his eye on the Douglas County Superior Court position.

“I’ve always thought this position in Douglas County was the perfect position for me,” Huber said.

He mentioned this to Hotchkiss and when Hotchkiss told him of his retirement plans, he had figured out that this was the career move he wanted to make.

Huber has many qualifications for the job. As a law student at the University of Washington, he served as a Rule 9 Prosecutor for the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office. In this role he stood in for the prosecutor when the prosecutor was tied up in other courtrooms.

Huber said he loved serving in the jury trials most of all.

Normally it is difficult for lawyers to get the chance to have jury trial experience because most cases do not go to trial, so this was very valuable experience.

“It was the best thing in the world I could have done,” Huber said.

After graduation, Huber had his own practice in Everett for four years before accepting a position at JDSA. During this time he got a lot of experience in litigation, but he became tired of the administrative aspects of keeping his own practice.

At JDSA he moved up from entry level, to being a partner, then being on the managing committee and finally being the managing partner of the firm.

During this time he served a wide variety of cases, rather than specializing in one legal area as most lawyers do.

He covered a partner in family law for six months, and kept some family law cases himself for a period of 10 years. This experience is relevant to the many custody cases which he will need to try as Superior Court Judge.

He even did some criminal defense, which will also be relevant.

“There are not a lot of the types of cases that the judge handles that I have not done,” Huber said.

Huber and his family — which includes his wife Danelle and his children Brooks, Jase and Grace — live in East Wenatchee.

Huber sees the commute to Waterville as one of the perks of his job. The drive is beautiful to him, and with traffic moving quickly it is nothing like the stressful commutes he experienced when he lived on the west side of the state.

Also, he loves the town of Waterville. Each day as he walks to a lunch spot, he enjoys running into people and getting the chance to chat.

On April 9, Huber was in his seventh official working day. He said that people in the courthouse have been wonderful with helping him adjust to the new job.

If elected in November, Huber will need to run again at the end of Hotchkiss’s term in 2020.

If the people continue to support him, he said he could see himself serving just as long as Hotchkiss.