City Considers Prosecuting Misdemeanors in Circuit Court

Release Date: 
04/08/2013

The Hermiston City Council’s Public Safety Committee will look into contracting with the Umatilla County District Attorney to prosecute all of the city’s misdemeanors in Circuit Court.  Currently, the City of Hermiston prosecutes its misdemeanors in Municipal Court, where the costs of prosecution have risen rapidly in recent years.  But, Hermiston Chief of Police Jason Edmiston says the cause behind the proposed change isn’t entirely financial.

“Currently, we may have a chronic offender who’s a chronic offender at the misdemeanor level that the District Attorney has no knowledge of when the offender commits a felony,” Edmiston said.

Moving Hermiston’s misdemeanors to the Circuit Court would allow the District Attorney to have a more complete understanding of a person when deciding how to prosecute, Edmiston said.  Making proper prosecutions should then lead to a more accountable justice system.

Several comments were made at Monday’s City Council meeting however, that the proposed contract for $85,000 per year would allow the District Attorney to handle the additional caseload, while burdening the Circuit Court with more cases.  The City Council decided to forward the issue to its Public Safety Committee to consider the proposal further. 

Read the full report to the City Council HERE.

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