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Tag: Attorney General


AG opinion: Pierce council can’t eliminate Superior Court seat

The state Attorney General’s Office has concluded the Pierce County Council did not have the legal authority to eliminate the Superior Court seat held by Judge Michael Hecht.

In an opinion issued today, Attorney General Rob McKenna and Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Even wrote that the state constitution authorizes the Legislature to direct the number of judges for each superior court.

“A county legislative authority desiring to reduce that number may work with the Legislature to do so through a statutory amendment,” the opinion states.

You can download a PDF copy of the opinion here.

A spokesman for Gov. Chris Gregoire said she will proceed with filling the post. Because there are six vacant superior court seats throughout the state at the moment, it may be six months before the governor receives recommendations for appointments from her legal counsel, according to spokesman Biet Shelton.

The County Council eliminated funding for Hecht’s seat in November, just a day after the judge announced his resignation. The council cited the need for budget flexibility.

The county prosecuting attorney’s office, County Executive Pat McCarthy and the local bar association claimed the move was illegal. State Court Administrator Jeff Hall requested the attorney general’s opinion.

The council issued a statement this afternoon saying that “if Pierce county must reinstate its 22nd Superior Court judge, the County Council believes the state of Washington should help cover the cost.” In the statement Chairman Roger Bush, R-Graham, said the state is imposing an unfunded mandate on the county.

The state already pays half of the salaries of Superior Court judges. It also pays for judges’ healthcare benefits.

“The money we saved from eliminating that seat has already been used on other needs in Superior Court,” Bush said. “At this point, it will be a struggle to fund a 22nd judge.”

You can read the council’s full statement below.

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McKenna to give hero award to McDonald’s worker for preventing kidnapping

Just got this news release:

AG to present awards to heroic McDonald’s employee, life-saving state workers

Capitol Campus Safety Fair celebrates emergency training and preparedness

OLYMPIA — Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna will honor several heroic state workers and one courageous fast-food employee who whisked a child out of the clutches of a kidnapper. The awards will be presented Friday at the Public Employees Safety Awareness and Preparedness Fair.

Ten people will be awarded with the second annual Safety Fair Award:

· Serenity LaChapelle, an employee of an Olympia McDonald’s. Serenity yanked an 8-year-old girl away from a stranger who tried to abduct her. The man, who had several warrants for his arrest, was later charged with second-degree kidnapping.
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