Community Court is a neighborhood-focused court program that combines the power of both the community and the justice system to address local problems and improve community safety.
The goal of Community Court is to address the unmet needs which lead to law-breaking behavior and justice system involvement. We focus on the whole person, and spend time getting to know each of our participants. We learn about each defendant’s needs, history, and goals and then develop an individual plan to help them become productive members of society.
Community Court is an alternative, solutions-based approach to addressing complex problems that traditional courts are faced with on a regular basis. The court provides immediate social service resources to eligible defendants with the goal of helping those defendants become self-sufficient. In turn, by providing these resources, defendants can receive the treatment and support they need to become productive members of society.
The City Prosecutor determines who is eligible for Community Court. If a defendant is charged with a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor offense in Court, and the defendant has no other prior violent felony conviction history, then they are eligible. Common eligible charges include the following:
- Theft 3
- Criminal Trespass
- Disorderly Conduct
- Unlawful Use of Drug Paraphernalia
- Possession of Stolen Property
The Community Court Resource Center is open from 1 pm to 4:30 pm every Tuesday. Community Court is held is every Tuesday at 3 pm via Zoom. For more information, please contact Elizabeth Bruce, Case Manager, at EBruce@puyallupwa.gov or 253-841-5544.
The Community Court often partners with, and refers participants to, the following local treatment agencies and service providers.
- Department of Social and Health Services
- Good Samaritan Behavioral Health
- East Pierce Family Medicine
- START Program
- Step by Step
- Work Source
- HARPS Program
- Greater Lakes Mental Health
- HEN Housing Program
- NW Integrated Health
- We Care Daily
- Pierce County Alliance
- Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
- WA Department of Veterans Affairs
- Clover Park Technical Institute
Will it take 2 years for the conviction to come off my record?
When you join Community Court, you will be given a graduation date in three, six, nine, or twelve months. If you complete all your court mandates by your graduation date, your charges will be dismissed on that day.
Do I have to appear every week for the duration of my contract?
No, you will have court weekly for the first three to four weeks. Then, your court appearances will become less and less frequent if you follow your mandates. However, you will be required to maintain weekly contact with your case manager through your contract.
Can the Community Court help me find a job?
Yes! We work directly with several community agencies that help people to apply for jobs or find job training programs.
Am I allowed to use marijuana while I’m in Community Court?
Absolutely not. You may not use any recreational drugs or non-prescribed substances while in the Community Court.
Can the Court help me find housing?
Yes! We work with several community housing agencies. We will work one-on-one with you to find a housing option that fits your needs. For the full list of partner agencies, please consult the Service Partners section of this website.
Do I have to decide today about participating in Community Court?
Community Court is most effective when participants begin shortly after they are charged. If you need more time, please talk with your public defender, who can communicate your request directly with the Prosecutor.
What if I accrue new charges, relapse, or violate the conditions of Community Court? Will I be terminated from the program?
We make best efforts to work directly with participants to address violations within the program. We expect every participant to immediately report any noncompliance or relapse to your case manager. We use progressive sanctions to address noncompliance, including community service, essays, reading assignments, increased treatment requirements or, as a last resort, jail. Termination from the program generally only occurs when a participant has failed to appear or engage with services for an extended period or has accrued multiple new charges.
What happens if I decide not to enter Community Court?
If you decide not to participate, your case will be handled on the normal court track and you will have the option of entering a plea deal or having a jury trial. You have the right to have an attorney to help you with your case.