Lynnwood University: A visit to the jail and Municipal Court

Lynnwood-University-LogoBy David Pan/Lynnwood Today editor

If the students in Lynnwood University are lucky, they won’t ever be visiting where they spent more than two hours during week seven of classes.

Students got a rare peek at the Lynnwood jail and then got to spent time chatting with Lynnwood Municipal Judge Stephen Moore.

Up first was a look at the jail, which only deals with people accused of misdemeanor crimes. Felony suspects are transported to the Snohomish County jail in Everett.

The facility houses anywhere from 45-50 inmates with a staff of three to four guards. A new camera system helps the guards monitor inmates. There are 54 cameras throughout the jail.

The jail includes three holding cells, one of which has a telephone and another of which is a padded cell. The latter is a well-used cell. Juvenile suspects also are detailed in the jail in a separate area.

Many of the suspects are caught shoplifting at Alderwood Mall, which a jail official noted has as many cameras as Sea-Tac airport.

Inmates are allowed visited on Sundays. Visitors are checked before they are allowed into visit someone, which occasionally leads to novel situation. If a visitor has outstanding warrants, he or she will be placed under arrest.

In addition to reading materials and televisions, inmates also have the opportunity to work in the laundry and food preparation facilities. Lynnwood University students had the opportunity to partake in some of food prepared by the inmates.

After the visit to the jail, students head to Lynnwood Municipal Court to listen to Judge Moore. The court deals with misdemeanor offenses and traffic infractions.

The bulk of the cases are DUIs, domestic violence and theft. The Lynnwood Police have made DUIs a priority in the city. Theft is related to the Alderwood Mall and surrounding stores.

Jury trials in Lynnwood Municipal Court are held on every other Wednesdays. But Moore noted that they are relatively uncommon. Moore might preside over 10 to 12 jury trials during a year.

Since the cases are misdemeanors, there are only six jurors instead of the standard 12. The verdict, however, must be unanimous.

The recent passage of Marijuana initiative has resulted in a significant increase in the number of Marijuana/DUI cases, Moore said. He also noted that those under 21 are still not permitted to smoke pot, which comes as a surprise to some younger people.

Moore said he enjoys his job and that unlike other state judges there is no mandatory retirement age for Municipal judges. Therefore he hopes to continue sitting on the bench for a long time.

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