Chapter 2.16MUNICIPAL COURT

Sections:

2.16.010
Creation of a Traffic Violations Bureau.
2.16.020
Processing of Citations.
2.16.030
Forfeited Moneys to the General Fund.
2.16.040
Administration of the Traffic Violations Bureau.
2.16.050
Municipal Court Established.
2.16.060
Court Seal.
2.16.070
Jurisdiction.
2.16.080
Judges - Appointments - Qualifications.
2.16.090
Salaries - Costs.
2.16.100
Removal of Judge.
2.16.110
Municipal Court Employees.
2.16.120
Judges Pro Tem - Court Commissioners.
2.16.130
Judicial Vacancy.
2.16.135
Repealed.
2.16.140
Municipal Court Hours.
2.16.150
Revenue Deposits.
2.16.160
Rules of Pleading, Practice and Procedure.
2.16.170
Public Defender - Appointment.
2.16.180
Public Defender - Statement for Services.
2.16.190
Public Defender - Payment.
2.16.200
Use of Credit Cards.
2.16.210
Use of Collection Agencies and Attorneys.
2.16.010Creation of a Traffic Violations Bureau.

There is hereby created and established a City Traffic Violations Bureau which shall be located at the City Hall offices. (Ord. 15 § 1, 1995.)

2.16.020Processing of Citations.

The Traffic Violations Bureau shall initially receive all citations charging violations of City ordinances. The Traffic Violations Bureau shall receive and post bail and penalties and shall issue receipts therefor. Forfeitures of bail and penalties on forfeitable misdemeanor charges and traffic infractions shall be accepted by the Traffic Violations Bureau. (Ord. 15 § 2, 1995.)

2.16.030Forfeited Moneys to the General Fund.

All moneys paid as bail or penalties and forfeited to the Traffic Violations Bureau for violations of ordinances of the City shall be placed in the general fund of the City. (Ord. 15 § 3, 1995.)

2.16.040Administration of the Traffic Violations Bureau.

The Traffic Violations Bureau shall be administered by the City’s Court Administrator. (Ord. 15 § 4, 1995.)

2.16.050Municipal Court Established.

There is established a “Municipal Court of the City of Lakewood”, hereinafter referred to as the “Municipal Court”, which court shall have jurisdiction and shall exercise all powers enumerated herein and in Chapter 3.50 RCW, together with all such other powers and jurisdiction as are generally conferred upon courts of limited jurisdiction in the State of Washington either by common law, the general law, or by express statute. (Ord. 252 § 1 (part), 2000; Ord. 15 § 5, 1995.)

2.16.060Court 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 Lakewood, State of Washington”, surrounding the vignette. (Ord. 15 § 6, 1995.)

2.16.070Jurisdiction.

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. The municipal court 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 is empowered to forfeit cash bail or bail bonds and issue execution thereon; and in general to hear and determine all causes, including traffic infractions, arising under such ordinances and to pronounce judgment in accordance therewith. (Ord. 15 § 7, 1995.)

2.16.080Judges - Appointments - Qualifications.

A. One or more Municipal Judge(s) shall be appointed for a term of office expiring January 1 of any fourth year after 1994. The terms of any subsequent re-appointments or successors shall commence on said January 1, and on January 1 of each fourth year thereafter, pursuant to appointment or election as provided in this chapter, and RCW 3.50.040 et seq.

B. The Municipal Judge or Judges shall be appointed by the City Manager, subject to confirmation by the City Council for terms as provided above. Subsequent appointments or re-appointments shall be made on or before December 1st of the year next preceding the year in which the term is to commence.

C. Notwithstanding the above, if the position (or positions) of the Municipal Judge constitute(s) at least one full-time equivalent judicial position, pursuant to RCW 3.50.055, and as provided hereinbelow, such position(s) shall be filled by election in accordance with RCW 3.50.055.

D. Any person or persons appointed or elected as Municipal Judge shall be a citizen of the United States of America and of the State of Washington; and an attorney admitted to practice law before the courts of record of the State of Washington, and shall be a resident of Pierce County. (Ord. 252 § 1 (part), 2000; Ord. 98 § 1 (part), 1996; Ord. 15 § 8, 1995.)

2.16.090Salaries - Costs.

Compensation of the Lakewood Municipal Judge shall be established by contract.

All costs of operation of the Municipal Court, including but not limited to salaries of judges and court employees, dockets, books of records, forms, furnishings and supplies shall be paid wholly out of the funds of the City. Jurors shall be paid a fee of ten dollars ($10.00) per day and mileage allowance pursuant to RCW 43.03.060. The City shall provide a suitable place for holding court and pay all expenses of maintaining it. (Ord. 574 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 269 § 1, 2001; Ord. 252 § 1 (part), 2000; Ord. 104 § 1, 1996; Ord. 98 § 1 (part), 1996; Ord. 15 § 9, 1995.)

2.16.100Removal of Judge.

A Municipal Judge shall be removed by a majority of the City Council only 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, or by operation of law. For the purposes hereof, conviction of misconduct or malfeasance in office shall include (1) conviction of any criminal offense by the Municipal Judge during the term of office of the Municipal Judge, (2) a determination by the Washington State Judicial Conduct Commission that a code or standard of judicial conduct has been violated, or (3) a finding by the City Council, after notice and a hearing and reasonable opportunity to be heard, that conduct has occurred, not limited to criminal convictions, which interferes with or prevents the Municipal Judge from being able to adequately administer or handle judicial functions of the Municipal Court, or which indicates that the Judge cannot act in a fair and/or impartial manner. It is provided, however, that if the Washington State Judicial Conduct Commission, or the Washington State Supreme Court or other court with the jurisdiction to make such decisions, decides that the Municipal Judge is to be removed from office or that the Municipal Judge is not qualified or able to serve as a Municipal Judge, then no further or separate action by the City Council is required to effect such removal. (Ord. 252 § 1 (part), 2000; Ord. 15 § 10, 1995.)

2.16.110Municipal Court Employees.

All employees of the Municipal Court shall be employees of the City and all applicable personnel practices and procedures and/or agreements with respect to hiring and termination, and personnel administration shall be followed; provided that the Municipal Court Judge shall have the responsibility for and authority over judicial functions and duties occurring in court or directly stemming from court action. Clerical support and administration for the court shall be provided by the City Manager or designee. (Ord. 71 § 1, 1996; Ord. 15 § 11, 1995.)

2.16.120Judges Pro Tem - Court Commissioners.

A. The Municipal Court Judge, or a majority of Municipal Court Judges, if there is more than one Municipal Judge, shall, in writing, appoint judges pro tem who shall act in the absence or disability of the regular judge of the Municipal Court or in the case of overlapping schedules or subsequent to the filing of an affidavit of prejudice. In any case where the Municipal Judges are unable to reach a majority in making a decision regarding such an appointment, the Presiding Judge of the Pierce County District Court No. 1 shall be afforded a vote to break the tie and make the decision, provided that if the Presiding Judge of the Pierce County District Court No. 1 is unwilling or unable to participate in such decision, then the toss of a coin shall be used, unless another tie-breaking mechanism is agreed to by the Municipal Judges, to break the tie and make the decision. The judge pro tem shall be qualified to hold the position of judge of the Municipal Court as provided herein. The judge pro tem shall receive compensation computed on an hourly basis at the rate of $50.00 per hour, or as otherwise fixed by resolution or ordinance. The term of the appointment shall be specified in writing but in any event shall not extend beyond the term of the appointing Municipal Court Judge or Judges.

B. The Municipal Judge, or a majority of Municipal Court Judges, if there is more than one Municipal Judge, may appoint one or more municipal court commissioners, who shall hold office during the pleasure of the Municipal Judge, to preside over specific calendars. In any case where the Municipal Judges are unable to reach a majority in making a decision regarding such an appointment, the Presiding Judge of the Pierce County District Court No. 1 shall be afforded a vote to break the tie and make the decision, provided that if the Presiding Judge of the Pierce County District Court No. 1 is unwilling or unable to participate in such decision, then the toss of a coin shall be used, unless another tie-breaking mechanism is agreed to by the Municipal Judges, to break the tie and make the decision. Each municipal court commissioner shall have such power, authority and jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters as the Municipal Judge shall prescribe by court order. The court commissioners shall receive compensation computed on an hourly basis at the rate of $40.00 per hour, or as otherwise fixed by resolution or ordinance.

C. The compensation of judges pro tem and court commissioners shall be paid out of the amount from which payment is made to the Municipal Judge or Judges as provided for in Section 2.16.090 hereof.

D. The scheduling of court commissioners and judges pro tem shall be on a “one half day” calendar basis. In the case of an overlapping or simultaneous calendar, if the Municipal Judge completes the calendar over which the Municipal Judge was presiding, and the other calendar which would have been presided over by the court commissioner or judge pro tem has not yet started, the Municipal Judge shall have the right to preside over such calendar. The Municipal Judge, or the assigned Municipal Judge, if there is more than one Municipal Judge, shall have the right to preside over any calendars not yet started that the Municipal Judge is in a position to preside over. In the case where a court commissioner or judge pro tem has been called and scheduled to preside over an overlapping or simultaneous calendar, but where the Municipal Judge, or the assigned Municipal Judge, if there is more than one Municipal Judge, is available to preside over the calendar, thereby making the services of the court commissioner or judge pro tem no longer needed, such court commissioner or judge pro tem shall be compensated for at least one hour at the appropriate hourly rate, assuming that the court commissioner or judge pro tem was present, ready and able to preside over the scheduled calendar. (Ord. 252 § 1 (part), 2000; Ord. 165 § 1, 1998; Ord. 98 §1 (part), 1996; Ord. 71 § 2, 1996; Ord. 15 § 12, 1995.)

2.16.130Judicial Vacancy.

Any vacancy in the Municipal Court due to a death, disability, removal or resignation of a Municipal Judge shall be filled by the City Manager, subject to confirmation by the City Council, for the remainder of the unexpired term. The appointed Municipal Judge shall be qualified to hold the position of Judge of the Municipal Court as provided in this chapter. (Ord. 15 § 13, 1995.)

2.16.135Determination of Full-Time Equivalent Judicial Position. (Repealed)

(Repealed Ord. 574 § 2, 2013; Ord. 252 § 1 (part), 2000; Ord. 98 § 1 (part), 1996.)

2.16.140Municipal Court Hours.

The Municipal Court offices shall be open during all regular business days and hours as the other offices of the City shall be open, but the dates and times of open court shall be as set as needed by the City Manager or designee in consultation with the Municipal Judge, or Judges; provided, that the sessions of the open court shall not be on non-judicial days. (Ord. 252 § 1 (part), 2000; Ord. 71 § 3, 1996; Ord. 15 § 14, 1995.)

2.16.150Revenue Deposits.

All fees, costs, fines, forfeitures and other moneys imposed or collected by the Municipal Court for the violation of any City ordinance, together with any other revenue received by the Municipal Court, shall be deposited with the City Finance Department as part of the general fund of the City. (Ord. 71 § 4, 1996; Ord. 15 § 15, 1995.)

2.16.160Rules of Pleading, Practice and Procedure.

The rules of pleading, practice and procedure before the Municipal Court shall be in accordance with the Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction, as published by the Washington Supreme Court, as currently in effect, as may be subsequently amended. (Ord. 15 § 16, 1995.)

2.16.170Public Defender - Appointment.

The Municipal Judge is authorized to appoint, on a case to case basis, as may be required, an attorney licensed to practice before the courts of the State of Washington, to act as public defender in representing indigent persons as defined by state law who are charged with offenses filed in the municipal court and for which the person could receive jail time as a result of conviction therefor, and cases appealed therefrom. (Ord. 71 § 5, 1996; Ord. 15 § 17, 1995.)

2.16.180Public Defender - Statement for Services.

The attorney appointed to act as public defender shall present his statement for services to the City, and the same shall be paid in the same manner as the other obligations of the City. (Ord. 15 § 18, 1995.)

2.16.190Public Defender - Payment.

The charges submitted by the public defender and approved by the City Council shall be paid from the general fund of the City. (Ord. 15 § 19, 1995.)

2.16.200Use of Credit Cards.

The Municipal Court may permit the use of credit cards for purposes of billing and collecting unpaid penalties, fines, costs, assessments, and forfeitures imposed. The Municipal Court may enter into agreements with one or more financial institutions for the purpose of such collections. The said agreements may specify conditions, remuneration for services, and other charges deemed appropriate, upon confirmation by the City Council. (Ord. 15 § 20, 1995.)

2.16.210Use of Collection Agencies and Attorneys.

A. The Municipal Court may use collection agencies as defined by Chapter 19.16 RCW for purposes of collecting unpaid penalties on infractions, criminal fines, costs, assessments, civil judgments, or forfeitures that have been imposed by the Court. The Municipal Court may enter into agreements with one or more attorneys or collection agencies for collection of outstanding penalties, fines, costs, assessments, and forfeitures. These agreements may specify the scope of work, remuneration for services, and other charges deemed appropriate.

B. Servicing of delinquencies by collection agencies or by collecting attorneys in which the Municipal Court retains control of its delinquencies shall not constitute assignment of debt.

C. The term “debt” shall include penalties, fines, costs, assessments, or forfeitures imposed by the Municipal Court.

D. The Municipal Court may assess, as court costs, the moneys paid for remuneration for services or charges paid to collecting attorneys, to collection agencies, or, in the case of credit cards, to financial institutions. (Ord. 252 § 1 (part), 2000; Ord. 15 § 21, 1995.)