Granger courts didn't have authority to prosecute crimes, forced to dismiss eight cases
GRANGER, Wash. - Granger Municipal Court dismissed eight cases this week because they did not have the authority to prosecute the crimes.
When the city of Granger wrote its criminal codes for Municipal Court, they didn't properly adopt the code, causing problems with enforcement.
The city had to dismiss eight cases involving nine charges on Monday because they did not have the authority to enforce the charges.
Richard Stirling is a local attorney who has been working on cases in Granger and said Granger didn't have the power to prosecute these cases so they were dropped.
Stirling said his law firm just began working in Granger in April and noticed a similar trend that they experienced in Union Gap so they decided to look into it.
"Knowing that other municipalities might utilize the same attorneys or they often make the same mistakes, we started double checking and that's when we noticed it for Granger," he said.
According to reports, in July, the city updated their criminal codes to give police and the court authority to enforce and prosecute misdemeanor crimes, repealing 27 of the 35 chapters of its municipal criminal code.
Stirling said Union Gap and Granger probably aren't the only cities with this problem.
"There are tons of cities here in Washington, many of them smaller that may not have the greatest resources or access to attorneys to make sure that everything is done correctly," he said.
Stirling said this is an issue that can go back decades or at least as long as these codes were in place.
If the court did not have authority to charge people with misdemeanors, in some cases, these misdemeanors can be thrown out.