King County Prosecutor: Community Court opens Jan 7 in Shoreline

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Dan Satterberg
King County Prosecuting Attorney

King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is partnering with the City of Shoreline and a dozen social service organizations as we open and staff the third Community Court in King County.

Court opens Jan. 7, 2020.

Community court is one of many therapeutic courts like Veterans’ Court, Mental Health Court, and Drug Court that holds offenders accountable while addressing the root cause, the why, of their actions.

It's a collaborative approach to justice. The city, in this case Shoreline, agrees to provide a place to hold court (their City Hall) and develops connections with local service providers to get offenders connected to mental health, behavioral health, substance use disorder support in that community.

The service providers set up shop right next to community court so it is literally a short walk to get help.

That low-barrier to help leads to more success.

“It’s all about harm reduction,” says Senior DPA Leah Taguba, District Court Unit Chair. “The traditional model has people arrested, adjudicated, maybe some time in jail, and then sent right back into that community with nothing to address how and why they ended up here in the first place. So, it’s not a stretch to think it may happen again.”

Local prosecutors, judges, and case managers review a case, complete a needs assessment, and, if it’s a good fit, offer the defendant the chance to opt in. If the offender agrees, completes the order of stipulation and community service, charges are dismissed. If they fail to complete the requirements, they lose the opportunity.

Research and recidivism statistics show this works. Redmond and Burien show it works too. These community courts have been open, handling hundreds of cases, and offering thousands of service hours since April 2018 and February 2019 respectively.

“These people are in our community and they can either go to jail, get no help and be released back into our community OR they can get help to tackle their issues and be released into our community,” said Leah. “The data shows the entire community is better off if they get help.”

What’s more, any member of the community can take advantage of community court resources. They don’t have to be court-involved to get social services, or even an ORCA card.

The courts are developed and staffed by local cities and in partnership with King County District Court, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Department of Public Defense and a long list of community partners that are the key to the success of this program.

Community court will be open on Tuesdays from 1:30-3:30pm at Shoreline City Hall, 17500 Midvale Ave N. The city will post service providers on their website. 

Here is a short list available in Shoreline:
  • Job readiness, job searches, resumes, and temporary work
  • Mental health and substance use disorder help and support
  • Dispute resolution and civil legal matters
  • Going back to school: GED, HS, or college
  • Reduced fare bus passes (at Hopelink, across the street from City Hall)
  • Emergency food and food bank info
  • Housing assistance and shelter referrals
  • Info about free cell phone services
  • Library cards and services


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