By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Lewis County District Court judges are proposing they stop holding court in East Lewis County.
Since 1974, the judges have been required to hold court at least once each month in Morton.
But Judges R.W. Buzzard and Wade Samuelson feel the time has come to end the half day sessions held in the Bob Lyle Community Center.
All the cases are non-criminal traffic violations, averaging about 20 on the schedule each month.
“The small number of people out there who get cited and want to go before a judge, they still can,” Buzzard said. “They can do it in Chehalis.”
The judge’s conversation came as they reviewed the possible change with the Lewis County Board of Commissioners yesterday. The board would have to take official action, after getting advice from a districting committee and also hold a public hearing.
The process could take up to a year, they said.
Samuelson told the commissioners many of the recipients of tickets are travelers and said there are some processes in place for those who don’t simply pay their ticket to deal with them by mail.
Among the reasons they gave for the idea were the costs of three individuals traveling in a county vehicle to a venue that’s lacking customary court security and the usual resources available in their courtrooms in Chehalis at the Lewis County Law and Justice Center.
Buzzard said it’s not fiscally responsible.
The cities of Morton, Mossyrock, Pe Ell and Toledo don’t have their own municipal courts, they contract with Lewis County District Court to handle their cases, according to Buzzard.
Commissioner Gary Stamper who represents that area of the county asked if District Court materials and information might be placed at Morton City Hall.
“I’m not opposed to it,” Stamper said. “I’d just want to make sure we have all our ducks lined up in a row.”