A former state appeals court judge from Tacoma has died

Staff writerMay 20, 2014 

Christine Quinn-Brintnall


Former state Court of Appeals Judge Christine Quinn-Brintnall, who worked as a Pierce County deputy prosecutor for 17 years before ascending to the bench, has died after battling cancer.

Quinn-Brintnall was 62.

She died Monday at her home overlooking Tacoma's Commencement Bay surrounded by family, including her two sons and brother, said her husband of 14 years, Matt Temmel.

First elected to the Court of Appeals in 2000, Quinn-Brintnall stepped down in January while seeking treatment for a virulent form of melanoma.

Colleagues remembered her as a passionate voice for justice.

"Judge Quinn-Brintnall was a deeply committed and hard-working leader both on and off the bench.  As an appellate lawyer, Judge Quinn-Brintnall argued many groundbreaking cases in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals,” Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen said in a statement Tuesday.  

Court of Appeals Judge Jill Johanson served with Quinn-Brintnall for three years.

"She had a passion for justice," Johanson, now chief judge for Division II, said in an interview. "She had a knack for really delving into the details of the case and the law."

Raised in Astoria, Ore., Quinn-Brintnall lived 40 years in Pierce County.

She graduated from The Evergreen State University and the University of Puget Sound Law School.

Quinn-Brintnall worked at the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office before taking a job as a Pierce County deputy prosecutor in 1983. She first worked criminal cases and eventually was promoted to chief criminal deputy under former Prosecutor William Griffies.

She later shifted to civil work and argued on behalf of the county before the Court of Appeals and Washington Supreme Court.

Quinn-Brintnall ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Superior Court before defeating attorney Art Wang in 2000 for an appellate court seat. She went on to serve as chief judge from 2004 to 2006.

"As an appellate judge she wrote over 1,000 decisions, setting precedent on many important issues," Madsen said.

Quinn-Brintnall also was involved in the community, judging mock trials put on by law students and supporting causes like the Emergency Food Network, the YWCA and the Tacoma Youth Symphony.

“Her death is a great loss to our state and to the legal community," Madsen said.

Memorial arrangements are pending.


The News Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service