Justice Delayed. Justice Denied.

Our justice system handles criminal cases from assault and murders to drug crimes and sexual misconduct. It also handles civil cases from divorce and child custody matters to property disputes and traffic cases. Under the “speedy trial” requirement of our federal constitution civil cases are forced to wait until criminal cases are cleared away first. As city police officers and county deputies have risen to the challenge of fighting increasingly complex crimes, civil cases had been put on the backburner, so to speak. It seemed to me that forcing families in crisis to wait two or more years for judges to resolve their cases was the opposite of seeking justice. The state had been urging the county to add another Superior Court judge for years. But earlier commissioners just could not find the money because of the Great Recession.


Finally we commissioners made the major decision for the 2018 budget to fund a fifth Superior Court Judge, thereby increasing the capacity of that court system by 25%. That decision was expensive, for not only does the county pay half the judge’s salary, we also pay for an administrative assistant, at least two court clerks, plus security and all the trappings of an additional courtroom and offices. Nevertheless, it was the right decision, following our constitutional mandate. This fall voters will be voting for the first time in our history on all five Superior Court judges at the same time.


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