August 15, 2005                                                                                       ITEM # 7

 

 

Item Title:             Wake County District Attorney Request

 

Specific Action Requested: 

That the Board of Commissioners approves funding for an Emergency District Court Judge to preside over an additional traffic court through December 31, 2005.

 

Item Summary:

 The 10th Judicial District of the North Carolina General Court of Justice presides over court in Wake County.  In recent months the 10th Judicial District Traffic Court has experienced excessive Traffic Court caseloads.  The increase in Wake County population and in the number of sworn municipal officers produces a Traffic Court caseload volume that surpasses the ability of the Court, given the resources and staff that are provided by the State of North Carolina, to manage the traffic court caseload efficiently, resulting in significant and unpredictable overcrowding in the Courthouse.

 

To maintain a safe environment, the Wake County Sheriff must clear any overcrowded condition. This leads to longer wait time, citizen dissatisfaction, and even a failure to appear order against the citizen forced off the floor. These actions require the citizen to return to Traffic Court at a later time further compounding the overcrowding problem.

 

The Wake County District Attorney has requested that Wake County fund approximately $25,000 to pay for an Emergency District Court Judge to hold traffic court from now until the end of 2005.  The District Attorney’s request has the support of the Chief District Court Judge, the Wake County Sheriff, the Clerk of the Superior Court and the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge. 

 

The Clerk of Superior Court has also requested that Wake County fund $7,620 for a temporary deputy clerk to staff the additional traffic court.

 

Wake County has been making capital renovations in the Wake County Courthouse including a high volume disposition court on the 1st floor thus providing an additional courtroom that will be available in September 2005. 

 

Running an additional traffic court through year-end will aid the Court by allowing time needed to work with local law enforcement to stagger the scheduling issues that confront it.  Currently there are approximately 1,000 law enforcement officers issuing citations. 

 

All parties recognize that the State of North Carolina, not Wake County, is responsible for funding the operational needs of the Court and that efforts should be made to encourage the General Assembly to provide the necessary judicial staffing to provide a long term solution to this problem; however, there is need to address the issue with a temporary solution. To reiterate, County assistance is requested and recommended only for a specific period of time, ending on December 31, 2005.

 

If approved funding is recommended from the Board of Commissioners contingency account.

 

Attachments:

  1. Letter from District Attorney
  2. Letter from Clerk of the Superior Court
  3. Letter from District Attorney to Highway Patrol
  4. Budget Memo