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Community Court in Auburn

Community Court meets most Thursdays at 1:30 PM 

2816 Auburn Way N

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Auburn Community Court logo

King County District Court (KCDC) and the City of Auburn have partnered to bring a community court option to Auburn. Community court is an alternative, problem-solving court for some non-violent misdemeanor cases. It allows cases to be handled by referrals to community resources that address a participant’s underlying needs that likely led to criminal activity. 

Re-thinking criminal justice

The criminal justice system traditionally seeks to reduce crime by punishing people. While fines or jail can be effective – and sometimes necessary – deterrents, they do not address the problems that many people struggle with that might have led them to commit crimes. Such problems can include homelessness, extreme poverty, addiction or mental health problems. While not everyone with these challenges commits crime, community court provides an effective alternative for people who do. It holds participants accountable while offering resources and support to build a better life. 

How it works

An in-depth evaluation is conducted to determine what personal challenges the participant faces and the types of services that could help them. Community court still involves a judge and attorneys, but the participant is connected with resource providers and community volunteers. They are provided encouragement and support to meet their goals through frequent court check-ins. This court model has been proven effective at reducing new crime. Rather than continuing to make participants who are struggling feel separated from their community, they are provided an opportunity to be a part of it in a law abiding and productive way. Community court participants are required to remain crime free, and often must perform community service to take responsibility for their crimes. If a participant does not follow through with their commitments, their case is returned to traditional court. Community court is only available to participants who commit “quality of life” crimes. Some misdemeanors, as well as felonies, are handled in traditional court.

  • Work Crew Screening: Work Crew Screening applications can be viewed and filled out here: Work Crew Screening Application. YOUR CASE NUMBER WILL BE REQUIRED.

If you need further information, please call 253 931-3040 or email [email protected].

Resource Center of Auburn

Essential to the program is a community resource center co-located with the court. The Resource Center of Auburn provides participants – and anyone else in the community – ready access to a wide variety of service providers that can help them overcome their challenges. Services include access to treatment, housing, transportation discounts, DSHS benefits, etc. A community resource center with so many vital services available at one time makes a significant difference for the entire community. During COVID-19, physical resource centers cannot operate, but a virtual resource center is available for anyone to access by video or telephone. 

Reducing crime

KCDC currently operates community courts in Redmond (opened March 2018) and Shoreline (opened January 2020). The Redmond program has seen great success and the resource center has been accessed by non-court participants from all over the region. Although it is too soon to prove what impact these courts have had on crime, data from other community courts show it is an effective way to reduce recidivism.

Saving taxpayers money

Community court can help taxpayers save money by reducing the need for costly jail services. Additionally, it helps lower crime costs borne by victims. For example, the Red Hook Community Justice Center in New York saved the community $15 million in victimization costs.  

Learn more about community court programs in King County

Judge York portraitJudge Matthew York is the presiding judge for the Auburn Community Court. He was appointed as a King County District Court (KCDC) judge in April, 2017, and subsequently elected in November, 2018.  He is currently assigned to KCDC’s Auburn courthouse location and hears both criminal and civil matters. He also serves on the KCDC Personnel Committee. 

Prior to joining the bench, Judge York served as a prosecuting attorney and as a civil attorney at a county and municipal level. He extensively served as a judge pro tem in courts all over King County since 2008, where he gained extensive experience as a judge for criminal and civil matters.

Judge York is excited to be starting a community court in Auburn and feels that this alternate form of accountability offers an opportunity that traditional court fails to provide while still striving to reduce recidivism and keep the people of Auburn safe.