Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
King County District Court Announces Consolidation Plan for 2003October 20, 2002
Starting on November 1, 2002 all cases currently filed in the Federal Way and Renton Divisions of King County District Court will be transferred to the Aukeen Court in Kent and Southwest Court in Burien respectively, as a part of King County District Court’s consolidation plan.
Cases filed after November 1 will be dispersed to all 9 remaining court locations. King County District Court Presiding Judge Wesley Saint Clair announced the consolidation plan following a unanimous vote by the county’s 26 district court judges late on Friday.
The Federal Way and Renton District Courts will both officially close their doors on December 20, 2002. The closures are in response to a $4.1 million budget cut for fiscal years 2002 and 2003, and a vote by the King County Council to consolidate King County’s current judicial districts from 9 to 3, effective January 1, 2003. As a part of these budget reductions, nearly 70 staff out of 290 positions were lost through terminations and hiring freezes.
“These cuts have, and will continue to be very painful,” said Saint Clair of the announcement. “All of the district court judges have worked around the clock to devise a consolidation plan that will best fit the needs of King County’s citizens. Given the circumstances, we believe this is the best plan to minimize any inconvenience to the public.”
A website has been created at www.metrokc.gov/kcdc/changes.htm to outline all the changes in operations under the new judicial districts, and litigants are asked to pay close attention to court notices regarding location of their hearings and/or trials. There is no anticipated impact on jurors summoned to King County District Court.
“These are indeed difficult budget times and difficult decisions, but I applaud the direction Judge Saint Clair is taking in making this prudent business decision to ensure the court system as a whole functions as efficiently as possible,” said King County Executive Ron Sims of the announcement.
The judiciary’s executive committee is also working on several other cost-saving measures, including web coordination of interpreters, automated judicial calendaring and accepting mitigations and contested infractions via e-mail.
The King County Council voted to reduce the judicial districts by a 9-4 vote on June 10, 2002. The closures of the Federal Way and Renton Divisions are expected to save $619,000 in 2003.
CONTACTS: Presiding Judge Wesley Saint Clair, King County District Court or Tricia Crozier, Interim Chief Administrative Officer at 206-205-2820. # # # # #
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