Court of Appeals: Div. III – Court Holds City Must Haul Their Juveniles 158 Miles for Holding
City of East Wenatchee v. Douglas County
East Wenatchee must be a hotbed of juvenile crime. Douglas County had previously allowed East Wenatchee to hold juveniles in their holding facility at Chelan County (Douglas County had a contract with Chelan County). However, the juveniles could only be held at Chelan County until their preliminary hearing. After that, the juveniles were required to be held at a juvenile facility in Medical Lake, which is about 158 miles from East Wenatchee.
But these are hard economic times and counties are slashing costs everywhere. Douglas County was paying $110 per day for each of the East Wenatchee juveniles held at Chelan County. In addition, 70% of the Douglas County juveniles held at Chelan County were East Wenatchee cases. So Douglas County pulled the plug on their agreement with East Wenatchee. After December 5, 2005, East Wenatchee was required to haul the juveniles 158 miles to Medical Lake for holding. They should have made the juveniles ride bikes there…in shackles…in the hot sun…or cold snow; maybe it would deter them from committing crimes!
Transportation to Medical Lake
East Wenatchee broke down and struck their own contract with Chelan County to hold the juveniles until transported to Medical Lake. What a weird name for a lake. Want to go swimming in Medical Lake? I don’t think so.
East Wenatchee filed suit against Douglas County seeking an order requiring Douglas County to pay for holding juveniles at Chelan and for transporting them to Medical Lake. On cross motions for summary judgment the trial court ruled in favor of Douglas County holding that their juvenile holding facility was Medical Lake and East Wenatchee was responsible for transporting their juveniles there.
RCW 13.16.030 requires that counties provide juvenile detention facilities. Douglas County has a juvenile detention facility. The statute does not require that the county place it in a convenient location. East Wenatchee made several arguments citing Attorney General opinions on detaining arrestees, however all of these opinions dealt with cities booking arrestees into jails of the county for which the cites are located. Here, East Wenatchee wanted to book the juveniles into Chelan County; East Wenatchee is in Douglas County. Even though the Chelan County facility is conveniently located 3 miles from East Wenatchee, there is no authority for allowing them to hold their juveniles there. Judgment affirmed.