Lacking prosecutor, Wapato dismisses 33 criminal cases

WAPATO, Wash. (AP) — The city of Wapato had to dismiss nearly three dozen criminal cases, including charges of driving under the influence and attempted theft, because it lacked a prosecutor.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that Wapato’s prosecuting attorney resigned because the city owed her $15,000 in back pay. That left no prosecutor on duty on March 4, and the municipal court dismissed all 33 cases on the calendar.

At the court’s request, Yakima County Prosecutor Joseph Brusic sent deputy prosecutors to handle cases for the next two hearing days, March 11 and March 18, and Wapato has since hired a Selah-based attorney on a three-month basis while it searches for a permanent hire.

The March 4 cases were dismissed without prejudice, which means they can be refiled, and Wapato City Manager Juan Orozco says the city intends to do so.