PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Superior, District, and Worker’s Compensation courts in Rhode Island may soon have six new justices on the bench.
Gov. Dan McKee announced Friday his nominations to fill six vacancies on those courts.
The following names have been submitted to the Senate for confirmation, according to McKee’s office:
Christopher K. Smith, who’s served as an associate judge in the District Court since 2019, would fill the seat of Judge Susan E. McGuirl on the Superior Court. McKee’s office said his background includes serving as chief of the District Court Division for the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office and as an adjunct professor at Roger Williams University.
Joseph J. McBurney, an assistant attorney general in the criminal division in the Office of the Attorney General, would fill the seat of Judge Netti C. Vogel on the Superior Court. He’s also an instructor for the Rhode Island State Police Training Academy, Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy, and Providence Police Training Academy, according to McKee’s office.
Magistrate James Patrick O’Neill would take Judge Elaine Bucci’s spot on the District Court. O’Neill has previously served five years as a District Court magistrate, and he was also a state representative from 2005 to 2015.
Debra Saunders would serve in a newly created position on the District Court. She has more than 25 years of legal experience, McKee’s office said, having served as a Superior Court clerk, Supreme Court deputy general counsel, and special assistant attorney general. She has also worked in private practice and is a member of multiple Supreme Court committees.
Nicholas J. Parrillo would fill the District Court seat vacated by Judge Christine Jabour. He served as a law clerk for Chief Justice Paul Suttell of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and also worked as a public defender and criminal defense lawyer, McKee’s office said.
Moira E. Reynolds has been nominated to the state Workers’ Compensation Court to replace Judge George Salem. She’s been staff counsel to The Beacon Mutual Insurance Co. for more than 20 years, according to McKee’s office.
“It is an honor to appoint these six judges who will play a critical role in serving Rhode Island’s court system,” McKee said in a news release. “I know that with their combined decades of experience, they will fairly uphold the laws and values of Rhode Island.”