Gov. Kate Brown appointed Deschutes County Deputy District Attorney Raymond Crutchley to the bench — the first black person to be appointed as a circuit court judge in Oregon east of the Cascade Mountains.

Crutchley will fill the vacancy left by Judge Alta Brady’s retirement “effective immediately,” according to a release from the governor’s office dated Friday.

Crutchley has worked in the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office for the past three years, specializing most recently in traffic cases.

District Attorney John Hummel wrote a letter supporting Crutchley’s application.

“I could not be more proud,” Hummel said Friday. “To watch him work so hard and get to take this next step in his career — it’s really special.”

Hummel said Crutchley excelled at both sides of effective lawyering — the technical and the empathetic.

Traffic law is deceptively complex, Hummel said, and Crutchley would dive into arcane topics involving scientific and legal minutiae.

On the human side, Crutchley worked hard to develop relationships with victims and their families, Hummel said.

“He’s going to be a spectacular judge,” Hummel said.

Crutchley was born and raised in Jamaica in a home without indoor plumbing. When he was 11, he and his single mother immigrated to New York.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1988 until he was honorably discharged in 1992. He graduated from Queens College in 1995 and moved to Portland, earning his law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1999.

He served a judicial clerkship in Clackamas County then represented clients in criminal and civil cases in Northeast Portland and Hillsboro for more than a decade.

He’s prosecuted criminal cases as a deputy district attorney in Deschutes County since 2015.

— Reporter: 541-383-0325,