Good news: local lawmakers are sponsoring a bill to bring another judge to Whatcom County Superior Court.
This good news is long overdue. As the article states, Whatcom County hasn’t added a Superior Court judge since 1972. Skagit County, with 58 percent of Whatcom’s population, already has four judges. Backlogs in criminal and especially civil cases have been a problem for more than a decade.
My clients want their day in court. They want me to argue pretrial motions, suppress evidence and/or dismiss cases. Some clients remain in custody because they can’t afford the high bail amounts. Others want immediate jury trials. In all cases, judges are needed to make decisions. Unfortunately, today’s backlog makes it very difficult to simply access a judge. I’m competing for time with other criminal attorneys, civil attorneys, judicial training, vacations, holidays, etc. Obtaining a fourth judge allows us to set more jury trial dates and clean out the backlog on civil cases.
Being an active trial attorney, I welcome more opportunities to advocate on behalf of clients facing DUI, assault, property crimes, drug crimes, etc. Again obtaining a fourth judge is a step in the right direction.