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Shhh ... court is in session at the Redmond library

Flickr Photo/Brian Turner (CC BY 2.0)/
File photo.

King County District Judge Lisa Paglisotti presides over a unique community court in Redmond. Instead of  sitting high up, looking down on a defendent, she's at eye level.

The setting is also more casual — in fact it's at the public library. That makes a difference because traditional court rooms can be intimidating.

Paglisotti said it’s helping keep people from returning to the justice system.

“It sort of grows organically, and that’s what’s pretty cool about it. There could be a community court down that road and it could look very different than the one in Redmond,” Paglisotti said.

Community court is an option for some people who commit misdemeanor crimes like theft and criminal trespass.

There’s a resource center on site that helps court participants get connected to court-ordered services like mental health treatment.

If they participate and comply with the programs requirements the charge is dismissed. So far seven people have graduated and more than 400 people have obtained services.  

King County began piloting the program in the spring. Its official grand opening is this week.