Caseloads and Delays in Washington’s Counties: How They May Affect You

Spokane publication The Inlander reports that the retirement of Spokane County judge Gregory Tripp, combined with efforts by the county to tighten its budgetary belt, has led to a backlog of DUI and domestic violence court cases that need to be heard. Although the district courts pledged to take up the slack, they seem to have been taken by surprise.

[Spokane district courts] didn’t foresee the kind of caseload they’ve had so far in 2018. Namely, district court has seen a staggering 28 percent increase in domestic violence case filings this year, along with a 25 percent increase in driving under the influence case filings over the same period, according to district court Judge Vance Peterson.

With regards the domestic violence side, the Inlander notes a fact that can be transferred to any county, including Thurston:

The city of Spokane [notes County Commissioner Josh Kerns] added 10 officers to the force in 2018. That could be responsible for some of the increase [in domestic violence cases being filed], with officers more easily able to respond to calls.

In short, higher staffing rates in a county’s law enforcement ranks will likely result in more domestic violence cases that need hearings. The bottom line is that if it can happen in Spokane County, it can happen in counties throughout Washington state.

What It Could Mean For Clients With DUI and Domestic Violence Charges

Counties across the nation face regular resource shortfalls. The lack of judicial reinforcements in Spokane County courts is a product of tougher Washington state law enforcement initiatives to combat the rising tides of both DUI and domestic violence incidents. Like most counties in the state, Thurston and others in the western part of the state face a rising caseload of both. If western Washington counties also (maybe inevitably) start facing resource shortfalls in their courts, both plaintiffs and defendants in DUI and domestic violence cases will likely face delays.

Lots of delays—in hearing schedules, filing procedures and all the other processes that make the state’s judicial bureaucracy tick. The wisest piece of advice to those charged with either a DUI or domestic violence: don’t delay things even further by missing filing deadlines and scheduled hearings in your case. And if necessary, get a responsible attorney on your side who can make sure to keep you on track.

The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC

The Law Office of David Lousteau, PLLC