Judge Timothy Odell stepped down from the bench after 29 years of serving for Everett Municipal On June 30th of this year.Many relevant changes
were implemented in regards to court procedures and how the application of criminal justice was applied during his tenure, and the courts current presiding
Judge, Laura Van Slyck has commented that it was “up to” Odell to oversee the changes and processes.
Judge Odell understands that justice isn’t just an application of the letter of the law, it is also a societal issue, and can be open to interpretation.That’s
why it was especially important to apply the Mental Health Alternatives Program or MAP (formerly known as Community Justice Alternatives Program) to
select cases that warrant special handling.These are therapeutic courts that use “continuous and intense judicially supervised treatment and services
to reduce repeated criminal activity”, that strike into the heart of the vicious cycle of criminal arrest and release.
Hardship begets hardship, and these therapeutic courts, sometimes known as drug courts or mental health courts, allow the arrestee to “obtain treatment
services to address underlying issues that may have contributed to the conduct that led to the arrest”. For example, a combat veteran with PTSD triggered
by fireworks, who may not even be aware of his/her condition, may lash out or act irrationally during a stage of mental decompensation brought on by
the trigger. Under the gaze of such therapeutic courts, he/she may seek treatment to address the PTSD and reduce or entirely eliminate the chance of
a repeat occurrence.
Sometimes criminal activity is the symptom of a mental health disorder, and criminalizing the actions may result in the cycle of criminal trial, court
fees, trial fees, attorney fees, and a huge financial hardship that may actually worsen the underlying cause. Basically, low-level offenders can enter
into treatment and forgo jail as long as they successfully participate in the programs. The model for this hopefully saves the tax payers money by
reducing our county and state inmate population and halts or reduces continued criminal activity, which brightens our community by making it safer.
In the interim time between now and the next election in Fall of 2017, Odell will consider candidates for the elected position his is vacating.The court
will employ pro tem judges in the meantime to assist with the approximate 25,000 cases heard per year. Everett Municipal hears cases for misdemeanors
and gross misdemeanors, driving infractions and parking violations.