Kent Mayor Dana Ralph picked defense attorney Michael Frans to fill the city of Kent Municipal Court judge seat that will be vacant when Judge Karli Jorgensen retires at the end of the year.
The mayor’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the City Council at its Sept. 18 meeting.
If confirmed, Frans’ appointment will be effective Jan. 1, and he will be sworn in as judge at the first council meeting of 2019. Frans will serve the remaining three years of Jorgensen’s four-year term. Between confirmation and Jan. 1, Frans will work closely with the Municipal Court and Jorgensen to ensure a seamless transition.
Ralph said there were a number of qualified candidates who applied for the vacancy, but Frans was the clear choice.
“I am very excited to bring Mike Frans forward to Council for confirmation,” Ralph said in a city media release. “He is a team player, has a strong legal background and has already demonstrated a dedication to the court by serving as a judge pro tem. He will be a great addition to our team.”
Frans, 46, is a lifelong resident of South King County. He is an experienced criminal defense trial lawyer in private practice for more than 18 years and has served as a judge pro tem in King County for the last two years. Frans has a law office in Burien. He graduated in 1999 from Seattle University School of Law.
“I’m excited to start this new chapter in my career and look forward to working hard for this great city,” Frans said. “The position of judge affords me the opportunity to make a real difference every day, and that is what is most exciting for me. It is my goal to ensure that every person appearing before the court is treated fairly and with respect. I look forward to working with the outstanding court staff to make Kent Municipal Court the very best it can be. It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve this city as municipal court judge.”
Jorgensen ran unopposed for the seat in 2017 and 2013 after then-Mayor Suzette Cooke appointed her in December 2011 to replace Robert McSeveney. Jorgensen has three years left on her term but didn’t give a reason for her retirement, which she announced in January.