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March 3, 1970
Honorable James P. Thompson
Whatcom County Court House
Bellingham, Washington 98225
Cite as: AGLO 1970 No. 25
Attention: !ttMr. William A. Gardner
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated February 27, 1970, requesting our opinion on a question pertaining to the compensation of a district justice court judge who is also serving as municipal judge of a city in accordance with chapter 3.46 RCW.
Basically, the issue raised by your inquiry is as to whether the statute to be applied in determining the method of compensating the judge in question is RCW 3.16.004 ‑ or whether the appropriate statute is RCW 3.46.090.
In our opinion, based upon the factual situation which you have described, the applicable statute is RCW 3.46.090. Clearly, this is the statute governing the payment of compensation to a district justice court judge in a county operating under the 1961 justice court act ‑ where such judge is also serving as the municipal judge of the city which has established a municipal department of the justice court in accordance with chapter 3.46 RCW. Under the provisions of this statute, the salary of the judge in question is to be computed and paid as follows:
"The salary of a full time municipal judge shall be paid wholly by the city. The salary of a justice of the peace serving a municipal department part time shall be paid jointly by the county and the city in the same proportion as the time of the justice has been allocated to each. Salaries of court commissioners serving the municipal department shall be paid by the city."
[[Orig. Op. Page 2]]
See, also, RCW 3.58.010, which establishes the annual salary of each full time district court justice of the peace at $20,000 per annum. The applicability of this statute to a situation comparable to that described in your letter was expressly determined by this office in AGO 63-64 No. 54 [[to Prosecuting Attorney, Klickitat County on September 9, 1963]], copy enclosed.
The other statute which you have cited, RCW 3.16.004, is presently applicable only to the following two situations: (1) In the case of justices of the peace serving cities having a population of more than twenty thousand which are located in counties which have not adopted the 1961 justice court act; and (2) to justices of the peace serving in cities having a population of more than twenty thousand which (notwithstanding the applicability of the 1961 justice court act to the counties in which they are located) have elected to retain their existing municipal court system in accordance with RCW 3.50.470. Accord, our opinion dated March 8, 1966, to the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney, copy enclosed.
It is hoped that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philip H. Austin
Assistant Attorney General