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January 26, 1971
Honorable George F. Hanigan
Cathlamet, Washington 98612
Cite as: AGLO 1971 No. 11 (not official)
This is written in response to your recent letter requesting our opinion regarding the appointment of probation officers to supervise persons placed upon probation by a district justice court.
Your basic question is whether such probation officer may be appointed by a judge of a district justice court without the approval of the board of county commissioners of the county in which the court is located. In addition, you have asked for our advice on two further questions which need only be answered if your primary question is answerable in the affirmative.
We answer your primary question in the negative, thus rendering consideration of your remaining questions unnecessary.
The only authority for the appointment of probation officers to operate within the district justice court system is that which was granted by the 1967 legislature through its enactment of §§ 7 ‑ 9, chapter 200, Laws of 1967 ‑ the provisions of which were noted and discussed in AGO 1968 No. 17, copy enclosed. While the ultimate conclusion reached in that opinion, relating to the manner in which the costs of a county justice court probation service are to be funded, has subsequently been altered through the enactment of § 1, chapter 111, Laws of 1969 (amending RCW 3.62.050), no change has been made in the cited 1967 statutes in so far as they prescribe the manner in which a district justice court probation officer is to be appointed.
Simply stated, he is to be appointed by the board of county commissioners of the county in which he is to be operating: Accord, § 9, chapter 200, Laws of 1967 (RCW 36.01.070); § 7, chapter 200, Laws of 1967 (RCW 9.92.060); and § 8, chapter 200, Laws of 1967 (RCW 9.95.210).
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We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philip H. Austin
Deputy Attorney General