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First new court feels like old court

Court supervisor expects number of arraignments to increase


About 40 people showed up at the Forest Grove Community Auditorium Wednesday, April 3, when the first municipal court combining both Forest Grove and Cornelius cases convened.

The inaugural “combined court” wasn’t much different than Forest Grove’s previous municipal courts, according to Sue Hudson Rau, the court supervisor.

There were about the same number of Spanish speakers, she said (some aided, as is typical, by a Spanish-speaking interpreter).

The violations were mostly traffic related, as usual. The very first case was a middle-aged Latino man who had been driving without an Oregon driver's license. The next five ranged from "driving without a seat belt" to speeding, with a drug-possession violation thrown in.

There was only one violation Municipal Court Judge Virginia Peterson hadn’t faced before, Hudson Rau said — a nuisance case based on a Cornelius ordinance related to solid-waste disposal (someone had left too much garbage lying around).

The overall number of alleged violators wasn’t much different either: 58 scheduled for arraignment, with 18 “failing to appear.”

Of those who appeared, 27 were from Cornelius, 31 from Forest Grove, Hudson Rau said.

She expects these numbers to pick up. “We have 92 scheduled for the next arraignment.”

That will be April 17 — the court convenes twice monthly — and Hudson Rau expects the following court date, in May, to be even larger.

Another thing that hasn't changed: nobody complained about Petersen. "She was nice," said a woman accompanying the girl who'd been cited for driving without a seatbelt. "Understanding."



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