Chapter 2.16


2.16.010    City municipal court.

2.16.020    Jurisdiction.

2.16.030    Municipal judge and court personnel.

2.16.040    Judges pro tem.

2.16.045    Court commissioners.

2.16.050    Judicial salaries.

2.16.060    Juror compensation.

2.16.070    Judges – Residency requirement.

2.16.080    Weapons check procedure for Bellingham municipal court building.

2.16.090    Standards for public defense.

2.16.100    Electronic home detention program.

2.16.010 City municipal court.

Pursuant to Chapter 3.50 RCW, there is established the municipal court of the city of Bellingham, hereinafter designated and referred to as the “municipal court,” which court shall have jurisdiction and shall exercise all powers declared to be vested in municipal courts by Chapter 3.50 RCW, together with such other powers and jurisdiction as are generally conferred upon such court in the state of Washington either by canon law or by express statute. [Ord. 9875 § 2, 1988; Ord. 9153 § 2, 1982].

2.16.020 Jurisdiction.

The municipal court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over traffic infractions arising under city ordinances and exclusive original criminal jurisdiction of all violations of city ordinances duly adopted by the city and shall have original jurisdiction of all other actions brought to enforce or recover license penalties or forfeitures declared or given by such ordinances or by state statutes. The municipal court shall also have the jurisdiction as conferred by statute. The municipal court is 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 ordinances and to pronounce judgment in accordance therewith. [Ord. 9875 § 4, 1988; Ord. 9519, 1985; Ord. 9153 § 3, 1982].

2.16.030 Municipal judge and court personnel.

A. The position of municipal judge shall be filled by election. The term shall be four years, with the initial term commencing January 1, 2002, and every four years thereafter. The election shall be held the November preceding the year in which the term commences.

B. A person elected as a full time municipal judge shall be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Whatcom County, Washington; and an attorney admitted to practice law before the courts of record of the state of Washington.

C. All employees of the municipal court shall be employees of the city. They shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the court. [Ord. 2001-04-032 § 1; Ord. 10647 § 2, 1995; Ord. 9875 § 5, 1988].

2.16.040 Judges pro tem.

The presiding municipal court judge may appoint judges pro tem who shall act in the absence or disability of the regular judge of the municipal court or subsequent to the filing of an affidavit of prejudice. The judges pro tem shall be qualified to hold the position of judge of the municipal court except that a judge pro tem need not be a resident of the city or county in which the municipal court is located. The municipal court judges pro tem shall receive such compensation as shall be fixed by ordinance. The term of the appointment shall be specified in writing but in any event shall not extend beyond the term of the appointing judge. [Ord. 2001-04-032 § 2; Ord. 9875 § 6, 1988].

2.16.045 Court commissioners.

The municipal court judge may appoint one or more municipal court commissioners, who shall hold office at the pleasure of the municipal court judge. Each municipal court commissioner shall have such power, authority, and jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters as the municipal court judge may lawfully prescribe. [Ord. 2002-10-074].

2.16.050 Judicial salaries.

A. The salary for the municipal court judge, effective January 1, 2002, shall be $94,548 per year plus any increase, annually or otherwise, in accordance with the E plan salary schedule.

B. The salary for judges pro tem shall be $50.00 per hour, provided, for conducting jury trials, judges pro tem shall be paid at the rate of $60.00 per hour. Such salary shall be adjusted, annually or otherwise, pro rata to any increase in the elected judge position salary. [Ord. 2001-04-031; Ord. 10701, 1995; Ord. 19647 § 3, 1995].

2.16.060 Juror compensation.

Each juror who serves in municipal court shall receive $10.00 for each day in attendance upon the court and, in addition thereto, shall receive mileage at the rate of $0.29 per mile. [Ord. 10647 § 4, 1995].

2.16.070 Judges – Residency requirement.

A judge of the municipal court need not be a resident of the city of Bellingham, but must be a resident of Whatcom County, Washington. [Ord. 2001-04-032 § 3].

2.16.080 Weapons check procedure for Bellingham municipal court building.

The city shall provide and maintain one or more stationary lock boxes, conforming to the requirements of RCW 9.41.300(1)(b), for the use of weapons owners visiting the Bellingham municipal court building. [Ord. 2002-11-090 § 2].

2.16.090 Standards for public defense.

The city of Bellingham adopts by reference the Standards for Public Defense Services adopted by the Board of Governors of the Washington State Bar Association on September 21, 2007, as the standards for public defense services in the city of Bellingham, as required by RCW 10.101.030. [Ord. 2008-02-010].

2.16.100 Electronic home detention program.

A. An electronic home detention program is hereby established to provide a form of misdemeanant supervision services, through and under the direction of the city’s department of municipal court.

B. The program shall be operated in a manner consistent with public safety, and in accordance with the minimum standards set by, and provisions of, federal, state and local laws, and with such other standards, procedures, rules and regulations as may be promulgated from time to time by the city. The city administration may contract with independent contractors to perform monitoring and supervision of participants in the program.

C. Defendants who are committed to jail for sentencing or who are awaiting trial or sentencing for misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor violations of law, and who are not precluded by court order from serving such commitment in the city’s electronic home detention program and who meet the minimum standards established by the city, may serve their incarceration in an electronic home detention program. Eligibility standards and the process for determining eligibility shall be established by the city through and under the direction of the city’s department of municipal court.

D. The city administration is authorized to implement a fee subsidy plan in order to ensure maximum participation in the program. The amount of subsidy shall be subject to budget authority. [Ord. 2016-02-008 § 2].