Cheney, Airway Heights sued for $20 million
Plaintiff contests sentencing by court commissioner without law degree
Last updated 10/15/2019 at 12:47pm
CHENEY -- The cities of Cheney and Airway Heights are the recipients of two separate lawsuits totaling $20 million that claim a court commissioner used by both municipalities was not capable of rendering a verdict against a defendant because she lacked a law degree.
Spokane attorney Kevin Roberts filed the tort claim against both municipalities -- $5 million against Airway Heights and $15 million against the city of Cheney -- on Thursday after Airway Heights Court Commissioner Terri Cooper sentenced his client, Shonto Pete, to 90 days in jail in a court case last week. Pete was previously the subject of a high-profile case in 2007 when former Spokane Police James "Jay" Olsen shot him in the head.
Cooper has over 21 years of service in the local municipal court system, beginning as court administrator in Medical Lake in 1998. She joined Cheney Municipal Court in 2004 as administrator/commissioner, and under the supervision of former District Court Judge Gregory Tripp, her judicial authority increase to full authority in 2006.
Cooper took on the court commissioner duties in Airway Heights after the city signed an agreement with Cheney in December 2018 to obtain those services.
More information in the Oct. 17 issue of the Cheney Free Press