City Hall

City Attorney Responds to Municipal Judge's Scathing Letter

By Erica C. Barnett July 21, 2010

City Attorney Pete Holmes' chief of staff, Darby DuComb, responded last week to a letter from the office of municipal court judge Edsonya Charles objecting to certain elements of the city attorney's annual report. (Charles claimed that Holmes’ report inaccurately said the city attorney oversees the city’s mental health and community courts; inaccurately described the reason a municipal court employee who sued the city was fired; and inaccurately claimed caseloads at muni court have increased, “conflict[ing] with statements you made earlier this year regarding the court’s workload.” Holmes supported eliminating one judge position earlier this year over Charles' strong objections).

DuComb agreed with Charles on the first two claims, but strongly disagreed that Holmes had contradicted himself on the court's caseload.

"[A]ccording to the City Auditor’s Fact Paper dated Dec. 16. 2009, criminal case filings are at historic lows," DuComb wrote. "Pete’s only comment on this matter was to state that the reduced caseloads over this long period of time and the elimination of the prior master calendar system could evidence an opportunity to return to a more efficient use of Municipal Court resources. ... It is unfortunate that the Seattle Municipal Court did not take advantage of the fact-finding process to make a better case for why there is no room for improved efficiencies.  We urge you to work with us for more efficient and predictable calendaring."
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