More "No-Shows" in Josephine County Court

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, August 13 2012 at 6:25 PM, Updated: Mon, August 13 2012 at 6:48 PM

Judge Lindi Baker's Josephine County courtroom has been a little emptier these days as more people are deciding to skip their criminal court dates.

"This is an increasing issue and an increasing problem," said Josephine Circuit Court Judge Lindi Baker.

Last week she said 15 out of 28 people charged with crimes did not show up.

"It's an incredible drain on our system that's already having difficulties," she said.

Those failing to appear in court are handed citations ordering them to appear again.

Judge Baker said it can become a cycle that could continue for a prolonged amount of time.

She said she expects the trend will continue to increase as the county struggles with fewer resources.

"Under a perfect situation they'd be taken into custody, taken to jail and they'll appear from jail," explained Baker

However, with fewer federal dollars and floundering finances the county just doesn't have the money to keep people charged with crimes behind bars.

"The criminal element is emboldened because they know we have limited resources," said Josephine County Commissioner Don Reedy.

He said the District Attorney's Office is also having a hard time.

"We're in a situation now here low level crimes are just not gonna be prosecuted," said Reedy.

But there is a  bright spot. Reedy said the county just received an extra $4.6 million in federal money. On Tuesday he and his fellow commissioners will decide what to do with it.

"The big priority is the jail and the DA's office," said Reedy, who emphasized that he could only speak for himself when it came to how the money would be spent.

The Josephine County Commissioners are expected to make a final vote at 9 o'clock, Wednesday morning.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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