It is said that early Washington citizens, suspicious of federal judges appointed and assigned to the territory from far-off Washington, D.C., created the office of Justice of the Peace as a way of maintaining local control over the business of justice.

Called the "fee justice system," it relied upon the election of justice of the peace officers to preside over various courts throughout the county. It was the Justice of the Peace's sworn duty to "administer summary justice in minor cases, to commit for trial, and to administer oaths, and perform marriages."

The fee justice system was employed by Pacific County for over 100 years and was replaced by the district court plan in 1967.

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