Monroe wants own municipal court

MONROE — City leaders want to establish a municipal court in Monroe by 2015.

Monroe contracts with the county district courts system to process misdemeanors, citations and traffic infractions, Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said. Felony cases are handled in Snohomish County Superior Court in downtown Everett.

In 2011, Monroe had to hire a pro tempore judge to process the extra infractions from the traffic-enforcement cameras that went live that year.

City staff got used to handling tickets, Willis said.

“We were kind of forced into the position of running it ourselves,” she said. “It has become a pretty efficient system.”

The city has no complaints about the services from the county, and the partnership has been productive, Willis said.

Still, city staff believe a municipal court would save them time and money, she said. With some infractions, the city pays court filing fees that cost more than potential revenue from fines.

People in town also would get more direct access to court services, Willis said. People already call and visit the Monroe police station with questions about court cases.

“We get calls all day long concerning court issues,” she said.

Larger cities in Snohomish County maintain municipal courts, such as Everett, Marysville and Lynnwood.

None do east of Everett along the U.S. 2 corridor, though.

Monroe currently budgets about $170,000 a year for court costs with Evergreen District Court along 179th Avenue SE. That doesn’t include the judge who handles traffic-camera tickets.

Evergreen District Court serves a huge part of Snohomish County east of Everett.

Monroe’s cases make up a relatively small percentage of the court’s overall workload and budget, presiding Judge Patricia Lyon said.

Evergreen District Court wouldn’t see a significant impact if Monroe established a municipal court, she said.

“We have enjoyed providing court services for the city of Monroe, and we look forward to continuing to have a good working relationship with them,” she said.

For a municipal court, the city would have to hire a court administrator and a part-time judge, Willis said. Support staffing would be drawn from existing city personnel.

The City Council agreed to move forward with the plan in January.

The court would operate out of council chambers at City Hall, according to the proposal by Police Chief Tim Quenzer. Set-up costs are estimated at $11,100. Estimated annual costs to run the court, including staffing, are $166,518.

The two-year wait covers the existing agreement with the county courts and some technicalities based on judicial election cycles. In general, civil cases still would go to county courts.

The movement toward a municipal court won’t change, regardless of what happens with traffic-enforcement cameras, Willis said.

Mayor Robert Zimmerman has said the city has no plans to renew its traffic-camera contract when it expires later this year.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

New leaders coming to county, state political parties

Hillary Moralez of Bothell takes over as chair for the Snohomish County Democratic Party.

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Camano Island man gets 18 years for role in drug ring

He was convicted of helping lead a drug distribution network in four Washington counties.

Lake Stevens man missing since beginning of January

Jason Michael Knox White hasn’t used his credit card or withdrawn money from his bank since then.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Nichols Brothers Boat Builders apprentice Janette Alhanati (left) and journeyman Kurt Warwick construct wall panels for an upcoming boat project with Linblad Expedition Holdings. A federal grant from the Northwest Workforce Council will allow Nichols Brothers to add more apprentices to its workforce starting in January 2018.
Whidbey Island boatbuilder gets hiring boost

The grant from the Northwest Workforce Council will help expand the company’s apprenticeship program.

Most Read