Improving access, increasing efficiency in face of growing caseload
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council today appointed Michael Finkle to serve as a judge in Northeast Division of King County District Court. Finkle will fill a new position authorized by the Council last year to address increasing District Court caseloads.
The cities served by the Northeast Division of District Court includes Bellevue, Issaquah, Sammamish, Redmond, and Woodinville as well as unincorporated King County.
“Mr. Finkle has outstanding qualifications to serve on the King County District Court bench,” said Councilmember Jane Hague , chair of the Council’s Committee of the Whole. “The public is a big winner with his appointment today.”
“We had so many wonderful candidates that made this a most difficult decision,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert of Redmond. “I am pleased that we were able to select a new judge who already is familiar with our Eastside communities and will be able to provide seamless expansion of our Northeast Division of District Court. I was impressed with this candidate’s commitment to the appearance of fairness and dedication to working to solve problems that create recidivism and to reduce disparities in the criminal justice system.”
“As an attorney who has spent significant time practicing in District Court, I can attest that Michael Finkle will be a fabulous judge,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, chair of the Council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee.
Finkle will join the bench from the office of the Seattle City Attorney, where he has been working in the Office’s Public and Community Safety Division. Finkle is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Seattle University. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Finkle received his Law Degree from UCLA.
District Court caseloads have increased each year since 2003 and are anticipated to increase through at least 2011. As a result of the increase in cases, in 2009 the state’s Administrative Office of the Court—which advises the state legislature on the number judicial positions needed in each county—recommended that the number of King County District Court judges be increased.
The King County District Court is the largest court of limited jurisdiction in the state of Washington. It has responsibility for traffic infractions, certain civil matters, and misdemeanor criminal offenses in the county’s unincorporated areas, cities that contract with the court, and for the adjudication of “state” offenses (violations of state statute in the county or when the arresting agency is the Washington State Patrol or other state law enforcement agency).