Judge Odell Retires From Everett Bench

June 30, 2016

Everett, Everett Government

Today is the last day on the bench for Everett Municipal Judge Tim Odell. He’s served the municipal court for nearly 3 decades. Here’s more about his career in Everett…


Judge Tim Odell. Photo courtesy City of Everett

Judge Tim Odell is retiring from the Everett Municipal Court on June 30, after 29 years on the bench. Odell worked as an attorney and as the District Court’s Everett commissioner before becoming the Municipal Court’s first presiding judge when it opened in 1987.

“Judge Odell has served the court and our community with integrity and care,” said Mayor Ray Stephanson. “We are all beneficiaries of his thoughtful involvement in the leadership of the court from its inception.”

Laura Van Slyck, the court’s current presiding judge, concurs: “I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Judge Odell. There were significant changes in the laws related to criminal justice and court procedures during the years that he was on the bench, and it was up to him to guide the Municipal Court through these changes. All of us here at the court will miss him and the tremendous influence he has had on our operations.”

During Odell’s career the Court started the probation department, created what is now known as the Mental Health Alternatives Program (MAP), and moved to a new building in 2012. Odell cites the development of the new building as a significant achievement. It provided much needed space for court staff, attorneys and visitors and improved the operations and efficiency of the entire court.

Much has changed during Odell’s tenure with the court. “Law is an evolving, living thing, and as a court, you always have to be on your toes and able to adapt,” he said.

One example is the court’s integral role in in the City’s comprehensive efforts to find effective, long-lasting strategies for addressing street-level social issues like mental illness, addiction and homelessness. Odell is proud of programs like MAP, which help direct low-level offenders into treatment and services rather than jail.

“We’re there to help people, not to punish, and it was frustrating to see some people come back through the court time after time,” said Odell. “People ask, ‘Why don’t you just throw them in jail?’ That’s not the answer. With theStreets Initiative and Safe Streets plan, we are now moving in the right direction.” He plans to continue his involvement in those efforts in retirement.

Odell said he has greatly appreciated the hard work and commitment of the court staff, which has grown from three to 17 employees in his time with the City. “Everything good that’s happened at the court we have accomplished as a team,” he said.

The Everett Municipal Court handles about 20,000 cases per year, ranging from parking tickets to gross misdemeanors.

Stephanson is considering potential candidates to fill the vacant position until the next election in fall 2017. The court will use pro tem judges as needed in the interim.

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