District/Municipal Court Liason Committee Newsletter
On January 22, 2015 the committee had its first regularly scheduled bi-monthly
meeting of the year. Congratulations to the newly elected Tacoma Municipal
Court Judge, Drew Ann Henke. She is replacing Judge Jack Emery who has served
the City of Tacoma for many years. Congratulations to the newly elected Pierce
County District Court Judge Jeanette Lineberry. She is replacing Judge Patrick
O’Malley who had served the citizens of Pierce County for over a decade.
The Pierce County District Court is in the process of hiring two behavioral mental
health focus specialists one at the supervisor level one at the field level thus
creating a mental health program within the probation department of the District
Court. The expectations for this program are high. The inclusion of these
specialists will enable the District Court to better address the needs of the
mentally infirmed who are under the supervision of the probation department.
The program is expected to be operational by mid-March or early April.
Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy is scheduled to go before the Pierce County
Council to ask for the funds to convert the county’s hospital building into a new
facility for Pierce County Government. The remaining tenants of the County-City
Building have submitted reports to the council and there seems to be a high
degree of consensus as to the best possible uses for the freed space.
The timing may be very good for the new building. The removal of the County
Executive offices and County Council offices from the building would allow the
County-City Building to become a predominately Law and Justice Center.
Probation departments currently housed at the Hess building at 9th and Tacoma
Ave could come back to the County-City Building. The County currently leases
space in the Merritt building and other leased spaces could be eliminated and
returned to the County-City Building. The County has approved a million dollar
appropriation for further study.
Department 2 of the Tacoma Municipal Court will be taking over mental health
cases to provide continuity in the judicial process for the mentally infirmed. The
change is scheduled for mid March.
The Tacoma Police Department has plans to imbed 2 mental health professionals
within their street patrols.
The Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution after 21 years is changing its
name. It will now be known as the Pierce County Center for Dialogue and
Members of the 2Watch Electronic Home Monitoring company shared with the
committee that 2Watch and 4 other agencies have joined together to create an
advisory board to establish minimum standards for all EHM organizations. The
potential for legislative action to regulate this industry is a remote possibility this
year, but legislative meetings have been scheduled and there is a feeling that the
regulation of the industry is at least drawing the attention of legislators.
The Department of Assigned Council reported that the first year misdemeanor
case load standards go into effect this year not only for county but municipalities
as well. There has been a slight increase in cost for staffing, but filings have gone
down so there is an offset. Adhering to the case load standards will require close
The District Court Administrator Charles Ramey reported that filings were down in
the District Court. DUI filings are down dramatically. The State Patrol has
sustained losses in staff. They are down in manpower, and not writing as many
tickets. They are not back to full staff yet and until their staffing gets back to
previous levels, filings will be down in District Court.
The District/Municipal Court Liaison Committee’s next meeting is tentatively
scheduled for May 21, 2015, 7:30 AM at the Harvester Restaurant located at 29 N
Tacoma Avenue. All are welcome.