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

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

Case unresolved: The noose at an Edmonds construction site

Though two were fired over comments about it, police were unable to determine who put it there.

To get drug money, Lynnwood man says he cut 911 wires

Those wires happened to be the ones used by 911 dispatchers, but emergency services weren’t affected.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Motorcyclist killed in crash had high level of THC

A motorcyclist had more than eight times the legal limit… Continue reading

Investigation recommends girl shot by officers face charges

The teen is accused of assaulting her boyfriend and the responding police officers.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Higher tolls could improve traffic speed in I-405 toll lanes

A report recommends lifting on the maximum toll and charging only by segment.

Most Read