Judge David Grant, the presiding judge of Whatcom County District Court, yesterday submitted his letter of resignation effective July 1st. I am still trying to get a response from the District Court administrator and a copy of the letter, but I understand from a courthouse source that Judge Grant gives as his reason family matters.
Judge Grant has another year and a half of service in his elective office. This resignation is totally unexpected. He is one of our two District Court judges, Matthew Elich being the other. District court hears all the lesser court cases in the county and towns, and is not to be confused with Superior Court for major crimes and issues.
The timing of this, when Bellingham Municipal Court is shut down and with city hall aggressively trying to take control of the staff of the Municipal Court, immediately raises the question of coincidence or whether something else is going on that we the public do not know about.
With this vacancy, the County Council will have the responsibility to appoint a judge to serve until the 2022 November election. This is - especially given the turmoil in Municplal Court - an emergency appointment. Under the normal procedure of courts, the District Court would handle all the small cases that the Bellingham Municipal Court instead handles.
Update 7 pm:
We have posted the resignation letter of Judge Grant, with the link just below at the end of this article. The District Court administration provided the letter this afternoon. In it, Judge Grant explains how this resignation is simply because it is “… time to close this chapter of my life…”. The further explanation all points to this being for personal reasons and not related to the Municipal Court legal mess.