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AGO 1950 No. 200 - January 20, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

ADAMS COUNTY JUDICIAL DISTRICT

The 1949 statute providing that there shall be one judge in Adams County excludes Adams County from the judicial district formerly composed of Adams, Benton and Franklin Counties.

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                                                                 January 20, 1950

Honorable Earl Coe
Secretary of State
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 200

Dear Sir:

            Receipt is acknowledged of your letter requesting our opinion as to the jurisdiction of the judgeship created by section 4, chapter 237, Laws of 1949 [Rem. 1949 Supp. 11045-1i].  You point out in your letter that by previous legislation chapter 20, Laws of 1945 [Rem. 1945 Supp. 11045-1d] two judges for Adams, Benton and Franklin Counties have been provided for.

            It is our conclusion that the effect of chapter 237, Laws of 1949, is that there is one judge for Adams County and there are two judges for the district of Benton and Franklin Counties, and the district of the latter two no longer extends to Adams County.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Chapter 237, Laws of 1949, provides for one judge in Adams County and makes no reference to the previous statute.  Section 4, chapter 237, Laws of 1949, provides:

            "Sec. 4. There shall be one judge of the Superior Court in Adams County."

            Section 5 provides in part:

            "Sec. 5. The Governor shall, upon the taking effect of this act, appoint one additional judge for the Superior Court of Spokane County, one additional judge for the Superior Court of Yakima County and one additional judge for the Superior Court of King  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] County, and one judge for Adams County, * * * "

            It will be noted that chapter 237, Laws of 1949, specifically provides that there shall be one judge of the Superior Court for Adams County.  If Chapter 20, Laws of 1945, be not modified by the later enactment the result will be three judges exercising jurisdiction in Adams County -the one whose position was created by chapter 237, Laws of 1949, and the two others who serve jointly the counties of Adams, Benton and Franklin.

            There is a well established principle of statutory construction that wherever two acts are in conflict the one enacted later prevails and the prior act is, to the extent that the two are not harmonious, repealed by implication.  In the case ofRichland Irrigation District v. DeBow, 149 Wash. 242, 270 Pac. 816, our Supreme Court announced this principle, saying:

            "* * * It is true that there is a conflict between this provision and the general statute on tax exemptions which is irreconcilable.  In such a case, the later act prevails and the prior act to the extent that the two are not harmonious is repealed by implication.  Callvert v. Windsor, 26 Wash. 368, 67 Pac. 91; State ex rel. Arnold v. Mitchell, 55 Wash. 513, 104 Pac. 791."

            It is our conclusion that section 4, chapter 237, Laws of 1947, should be given effect exactly in accord with its language so that there shall be one judge of the Superior Court in Adams County.  It is likewise our view that this later act modifies and repeals by implication that portion of chapter 20, Laws of 1945, which extends the jurisdiction of the two judges referred to therein to Adams County.

            It is, therefore, our opinion that the result of the passage of chapter 237, Laws of 1949, is that there is one judge for Adams County and there are two judges for a district of Benton and Franklin Counties, and the district of the latter two no longer extends to Adams County.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

LYLE L. IVERSEN
Assistant Attorney General

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