County’s mental health court hears first case

EVERETT — After more than a year in the works, Snohomish County’s first mental health court opened its doors Thursday.

District Court Judge Tam Bui welcomed the court’s first potential participant, a woman facing a misdemeanor theft charge. Officials say there is an indication that the woman is living with a mental illness that likely contributed to her alleged criminal behavior.

“I am very encouraged by your presence here today,” Bui told the woman.

The judge went on to explain that along with a public defender, a team of people will be working with the woman to determine if mental health court is a good fit. That will include an assessment and another court hearing in two weeks.

Public defenders, police officials, judges and advocates researched forming a mental health court in Snohomish County to address a population of people who end up in legal trouble because of untreated mental health issues.

The court, similar to the county’s drug courts, offers incentives to defendants who are willing to seek treatment and undergo close monitoring by the court.

Similar courts have been established in other counties, including King and Skagit. Here, the court generally will be limited to people facing non-violent misdemeanor charges.

The pilot project is funded in part by sales tax dollars specifically collected to provide services for people living with mental illness and those with drug and alcohol addictions. Some of the people involved in running the court are volunteering their time.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com

More in Local News

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

Bolshevik replaces BS in Eyman’s voters pamphlet statement

The initiative promoter also lost a bid to include a hyperlink to online coverage of the battle.

After work to address issues, Lynnwood gets clean audit

The city has benefited from increased revenues from sales tax.

Man with shotgun confronts man on toilet about missing phone

Police say the victim was doing his business when the suspect barged in and threatened him.

Detectives seek suspect in woman’s homicide

Alisha Michelle Canales-McGuire was shot to death Wednesday at a home south of Paine Field.

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

Smith Island habitat restoration cost to rise $1.2 million

The project is intended to increase survival rates for juvenile chinook salmon.

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Jim Mathis, the Vietnam veteran whose Marysville garden was recently featured in The Herald, died Wednesday. Mathis, who suffered from PTSD and cancer, found solace in his beautiful garden. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Vietnam veteran Jim Mathis found peace in his garden

The Marysville man who served two tours died Wednesday after suffering from cancer and PTSD.

Most Read