It Only Took 120 Years… Everett Gets First Female Municipal Court Judge

December 18, 2013

Everett, Everett Government

Laura Van Slyck

Laura Van Slyck was elected in November as Everett’s first female judge.

While for decades women have held judicial positions in Snohomish County and statewide, tonight the city of Everett will swear in its first woman on the municipal court bench since incorporating in 1893. Here’s a press release from Everett City Public Information Director Meghan Pembroke…

Judge David Mitchell is retiring from the Everett Municipal Court after 27 years on the bench. Mitchell worked as an attorney before becoming the court’s part-time judge when it opened in 1987.

“Everett has benefitted considerably from Judge Mitchell’s service and he’ll be greatly missed,” said Judge Timothy Odell. “He has been an advocate for people with special needs and has worked to ensure that they don’t slip through the cracks of the legal system.”

In the latter part of his career, Mitchell developed a pilot program designed to help defendants with mental health issues navigate the court system and receive the services they need. The court offers special hearings once a month with the goal of helping defendants get treatment rather than putting them in jail.

“The Community Justice Alternative program is a voluntary, court-sanctioned program designed to connect defendants with treatment options and other community resources to help them live a crime-free lifestyle,” said Odell. “Judge Mitchell really saw a need for this type of service in Everett and spearheaded the effort to get it started.”

The National Alliance on Mental Illness recognized Mitchell for his work earlier this month.

“I am very appreciative of all that Judge Mitchell has accomplished in his time on the court,” said Mayor Ray Stephanson. “He’s leaving some big shoes to fill, and we are fortunate to have Laura Van Slyck joining the court in January.”

Van Slyck was elected in November as the city’s first new judge in nearly three decades and is the first woman to hold the position. Van Slyck has been with the city since 1991 and is currently Everett’s lead prosecutor.

“Laura has served in a variety of roles during her time with the city and has experience with many facets of our legal system,” said Jim Iles, city attorney. “She will be a great asset to the court.”

The Everett Municipal Court handles about 30,000 cases per year, ranging from parking tickets to gross misdemeanors. Odell is the court’s presiding judge, and has served since 1987.

Van Slyck will be sworn in by Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Her first official day in the new role will be Thursday, Jan. 2.

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About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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