Tag Archives: Kitsap County Prosecutor Russell Hauge

Kitsap Courthouse’s New System Running ‘Very Smoothly’

A move to push Kitsap County’s felony cases through the justice system more efficiently has seemingly gone off without a hitch.

“Day one went very smoothly,” Kitsap County Prosecutor Russell Hauge said of Monday.

As you may recall, the plan for the county’s courthouse was to route all cases — misdemeanors and felonies — through district court for preliminary, or first, appearances. This new method gives all parties involved — including the defendant — an additional 30 day clock to decide whether to proceed to trial or plead guilty.

If felony defendants fight the charges, then they’ll be placed on a superior court calendar and the case will proceed toward trial. But if they wish to plead guilty, then their first appearance before a superior court judge would be to plead guilty, and likely, be sentenced. The old system might include numerous appearances before the superior court bench, eating up time for all involved.

The new process began Monday. Maury Baker, Kitsap County’s District Court administrator, echoed Hauge’s sentiment that things are going well so far.

They’d planned to have it up and running Jan. 1 this year. It was delayed to March.

And there’s one more thing they haven’t implemented yet — the video system. In the coming months, all jailed defendants will make appearances on video from the jail, rather than be chained together with other defendants and placed in the superior court’s jury box for their first appearance.

Followup: Kitsap Prosecutor Dismissed from Jury Duty

Though he made it before a judge during the process, Kitsap County Prosecutor Russell Hauge won’t be sitting on a jury anytime soon.

I reported earlier this week that he’d been called to serve, just like everyone else. He made it to the voir dire process in a criminal case before Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Leila Mills, but that was where it ended.

He was asked this question: Could he presume the defendant innocent since the charging documents were filed in his name. (All official documents out of of Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office, including charging documents, include his name).

“I said no,” Hauge said, and he was dismissed.

Even the Kitsap County Prosecutor Gets Called for Jury Duty

Ahh, jury duty. There’s nothing quite like getting that summons in the mail, an invitation to fulfill our civic duty to fairly to impartially weigh the evidence in cases involving our peers in society.

And no one is immune to the task. Not even elected prosecutors.

Kitsap County Prosecutor Russell Hauge received his summons recently, and is on call this week for his chance to get on a panel.

“I’ll call in Sunday night just like everyone else,” Hauge said.

Granted, the odds are slim to none that any judge, especially in a criminal case, would allow the sitting prosecutor on a jury. The conflicts seem steep (for instance, he’d be watching a deputy prosecutor — who answers to him —  try a case).

But even presidents get called for jury duty. George W. Bush was in 2005 and Barack Obama just this year. They too have an armada of reasons why serving on a jury just probably isn’t going to happen.

How far Hauge gets in the process remains to be seen.

“It’s up to the judge,” he said.