Kitsap judge recovering from recent heart attack

Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Theodore Spearman suffered a heart attack but is recovering and is expected to return to work in a few months, according to the court’s presiding judge.

Spearman, 61, had the attack at his Bainbridge Island home Oct. 5. Details were not disclosed outside of family until an Oct. 9 notice from the court to the Kitsap Bar.

Presiding Judge M. Karlynn Haberly said Monday that Spearman was resting at home and was expected to return to work in a few months. She said that Spearman had no outstanding cases that needed immediate attention and that his workload was being distributed among other judges.

Haberly said she did not think the court was under any obligation to notify the press or the public about Spearman’s condition.

“Out of respect for Judge Spearman’s privacy, we will not be providing the details associated with his condition, except to confirm that he has experienced a heart attack,” the message read. “Please be assured that Judge Spearman is resting comfortably at home, and greatly appreciates the outpouring of support and well-wishes that several of you have already expressed.”

Spearman was appointed by Gov. Gary Locke in 2004 to replace retiring judge Terry McCauliffe, as the first African-American judge to serve on the Kitsap court. He ran unopposed in the general election later that year, and was also unopposed in the 2008 judicial primary and as a result will serve another term.

Superior Court Judges earn $148,000 a year. Under a system that is in effect throughout the country, elected officials continue to draw their salaries for as long as they are still in office.

Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Jay Roof suffered a heart attack in 2005 but returned to work after two weeks.* He is now carrying a full case load, along with managing Drug Court, and was also elected to an additional term this year.

* corrected from a previous version.

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