Chapter 2.40


2.40.010    Creation.

2.40.020    Jurisdiction.

2.40.030    Disposition of revenue.

2.40.040    Municipal judge.

2.40.050    Municipal court commissioner.

2.40.060    Court operation.

2.40.070    Sessions.

2.40.080    Municipal court seal.

2.40.090    Jury trial and fee.

2.40.100    Sentencing.

2.40.110    Criminal process.

2.40.120    Pleadings, practice and procedure.

2.40.130    References to state statutes.

2.40.010 Creation.

The municipal court of the city of Mercer Island (municipal court) is hereby created, which shall have jurisdiction and exercise all powers vested in the municipal court by Chapter 3.50 RCW together with such other powers and jurisdiction as are generally conferred on such courts in Washington, either by common law or statute. The municipal court shall commence operation on January 1, 2005. (Ord. 04C-01 § 1).

2.40.020 Jurisdiction.

The municipal court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over traffic infractions arising under city of Mercer Island ordinances and exclusive original criminal jurisdiction of all violations of city of Mercer Island ordinances. The municipal court shall have original jurisdiction of all other actions brought to enforce or recover license penalties or forfeitures declared by city of Mercer Island ordinance or state statute. The municipal court is also empowered to forfeit cash bail or bail bonds and issue execution thereon; and in general to hear and determine all causes, civil or criminal, including traffic infractions, arising under such city ordinances, to issue process including without limitation subpoenas and search warrants; and to pronounce judgment in accordance therewith. Finally, the municipal court shall have all jurisdiction conferred on it by statute. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the District Court for King County, Bellevue Division, shall continue to have jurisdiction over any matter filed with the district court by the city of Mercer Island before January 1, 2005, so long as the matter has not been transferred by court order of the Mercer Island municipal court. (Ord. 04C-01 § 1).

2.40.030 Disposition of revenue.

Costs in civil and criminal actions may be imposed as provided in district court pursuant to RCW 3.62.060 and 10.01.160 or other applicable law. All fees, costs, fines, forfeitures and other money imposed by the municipal court for the violation of any city ordinances shall be collected by the court clerk and shall be deposited with the city finance director in conformance with procedures adopted by the city manager or state law. These funds shall be retained or disbursed pursuant to city ordinances, policies, rules and state law, such as RCW 3.50.100. (Ord. 04C-01 § 1).

2.40.040 Municipal judge.

A. Appointment. Consistent with RCW 3.50.040, within 30 days after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, the city manager shall appoint a municipal judge who shall work less than a full time equivalent as defined in RCW 3.50.055. Pursuant to RCW 35A.13.080, this appointment is subject to confirmation by the city council.

B. Term. Consistent with RCW 3.50.040, the municipal judge shall serve a term of four years, with the initial appointment of the judge under this chapter expiring December 31, 2005. On or before December 1, 2005, the city manager shall make an appointment of a judge for a term commencing January 1, 2006, and expiring December 31, 2009; provided, that the judicial position continues as a less than full time equivalent position as defined in RCW 3.50.055. Appointments, if appropriate, for each term thereafter shall be made on or before December 1 of the next preceding year in which the judicial term commences. In the event that the judicial position becomes a full-time equivalent position as defined in RCW 3.50.055, an election shall be conducted the year preceding the expiration of the appointed term.

C. Judicial Qualifications. At the time of the appointment or election, the person appointed or elected shall be qualified for the position of municipal judge under all applicable state statutes, including without limitation RCW 3.50.040 and 3.50.050.

D. Additional Judges. Additional full- or part-time municipal judicial positions may be filled in accordance with RCW 3.50.055, when in the judgment of the city manager, and following approval by the city council, the public interest and the administration of justice makes such additional judge or judges necessary.

E. Judges Pro Tem. The municipal judge shall, in writing, appoint judges pro tem who shall serve in absence, disability, or disqualification of the regular municipal judge, subsequent to the filing of an affidavit of prejudice, or when the administration of justice and the accomplishment of the work of the municipal court make it necessary; provided, however, that the compensation of all judges pro tem shall be within the municipal court budget adopted by the city council. A pro tem judge’s term of appointment shall also be specified in writing. The judges pro tem shall receive such compensation as is received, on an hourly basis, by the municipal judge, or as otherwise fixed by resolution or by ordinance. The pro tem judge shall meet the qualifications required for the position of municipal court judge as provided herein. Before entering upon judicial duties, the pro tem judge shall take, subscribe and file an oath in the same form as that of the duly appointed municipal judge and thereafter shall have all the powers of the appointed municipal judge. When deemed necessary by the municipal judge, he/she may make a temporary appointment of a judge pro tem, to preserve an individual’s rights according to law or to respond to emergency circumstances, effective for up to one week.

F. Vacancy. Any vacancy in the municipal court due to death, disability, or resignation of a judge shall be filled by the city manager, for the remainder of the unexpired term. The appointment shall be confirmed by the city council. The appointed judge shall be qualified to hold the position of judge of the municipal court as provided in this section.

G. Removal.

1. Removal for Misconduct/Malfeasance. Pursuant to RCW 3.50.095, a judge may be removed from office during the term of his or her appointment upon conviction of misconduct or malfeasance in office, or because of physical or mental disability rendering the judge incapable of performing the duties of the office. Conviction of misconduct or malfeasance in office shall include without limitation:

a. Conviction of any criminal offense by the judge during the term of office; or

b. A determination by the Washington State Judicial Conduct Commission that a code or standard of judicial conduct has been violated.

2. Removal by Judicial Conduct Commission. A municipal court judge may also be removed from office by the Washington State Judicial Conduct Commission and/or the Washington State Supreme Court, as described in Chapter 2.64 RCW or other applicable law. No separate action by the city council is required to effect such removal.

H. Oath. Every judge of the municipal court, before entering upon the duties of the office, shall take and subscribe to the following oath or affirmation:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Washington, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of judge of the municipal court of the city of Mercer Island, according to the best of my ability.

The oath shall be filed in the office of the King County auditor and with the Mercer Island city clerk.

I. Compensation. Pursuant to RCW 3.50.080, the judge’s compensation shall be set by the city council by budget ordinance. Other terms of employment shall be set by a professional services agreement which will be entered into between the city manager on behalf of Mercer Island and the appointed judge. (Ord. 04C-01 § 1).

2.40.050 Municipal court commissioner.

Pursuant to RCW 3.50.075, municipal court commissioner(s) may be appointed by the judge so long as the compensation for such commissioner is within the municipal court budget adopted by the city council. The commissioner shall serve at the pleasure of the judge. (Ord. 04C-01 § 1).

2.40.060 Court operation.

As part of each biennial budget presentation, the city manager or his or her designee, following consultation with the judge, will prepare a proposed municipal court budget and will make a recommendation on such budget to the city council. The biennial budget for the municipal court is subject to city council approval. All employees of the municipal court shall be deemed employees of the city and they shall be subject to all applicable provisions of city employee handbooks, rules, regulations and other applicable state laws and rules such as RCW 3.50.080 and General Court Rule 29. (Ord. 04C-01 § 1).

2.40.070 Sessions.

The municipal court shall be open and shall hold such regular and special sessions as may be prescribed by the city manager; provided, that the municipal court shall not be open on nonjudicial days, as established by state law. This section shall not prevent the judge from granting telephonic approval or entry of search warrants, issuing no contact orders, or determinations of probable cause, regardless of whether or not the municipal court is officially open. (Ord. 04C-01 § 1).

2.40.080 Municipal court seal.

The municipal court shall have a seal which shall be the vignette of George Washington, with the words “Seal of the Municipal Court of Mercer Island, State of Washington” surrounding the vignette. (Ord. 04C-01 § 1).

2.40.090 Jury trial and fee.

Jury trials shall be allowed as specifically provided for in RCW 3.50.135, or in accordance with state law. A party requesting a jury trial shall pay to the municipal court a fee which shall be the same amount as for a jury trial in district court. If more than one party requests a jury, the fee shall be apportioned. Jurors shall be reimbursed for their costs and mileage pursuant to RCW 3.50.135 for each day in attendance at the municipal court in the amounts set by the city council. These fees may be included in the costs that are imposed by the court upon a defendant. (Ord. 04C-01 § 1).

2.40.100 Sentencing.

The judge shall have the broadest authority and greatest discretion consistent with the Mercer Island City Code and applicable state law with respect to sentencing and probation. In matters of execution of sentence, deferral of sentence, continuing jurisdiction after sentencing and termination of probation, the judge shall be guided by applicable state law, such as RCW 3.50.300 through 3.50.340 and 3.50.440. (Ord. 04C-01 § 1).

2.40.110 Criminal process.

All criminal process issued by the municipal court shall be consistent with RCW 3.50.425, shall be in the name of the state of Washington and run throughout the state, and be directed to and served by the chief of police or other police officer of any city or to any sheriff in the state. (Ord. 06C-06 § 2; Ord. 04C-01 § 1).

2.40.120 Pleadings, practice and procedure.

Pleadings, practice and procedure in cases not governed by statutes or rules specifically applicable to municipal courts shall be governed by RCW 3.50.450 and all other statutes and rules now existing or hereafter adopted governing pleadings, practice and procedure applicable to district courts, including without limitation the Washington Rules for Courts of

Limited Jurisdiction and Local Rules of the District Court for King County. (Ord. 04C-01 § 1).

2.40.130 References to state statutes.

All references in this chapter to state statutes, including, without limitation, Chapter 3.50 RCW, shall be deemed to incorporate by reference such state statutes, as now existing or hereafter adopted or amended. (Ord. 04C-01 § 1).