FOLLOWUP: New King County Prosecuting Attorney Leesa Manion announces changes

(WSB photo, January 9)

When West Seattleite Leesa Manion was sworn in as King County Prosecuting Attorney two weeks ago, she promised to make policy announcements before month’s end. Today she made good on that promise. She said she hopes the changes will bring “focused attention to some of King County’s greatest areas of concern.” Quoting from the announcement, they are:

*A new Gun Violence Prevention Unit “to identify and prosecute the individuals perpetuating the most harm in our communities, and also to connect individuals who are close to gun violence to meaningful community-based resources before they become victims or perpetrators of violence. This includes expanding coordination with our Extreme Risk Protection Order team.”

*A new division of criminal practice “focused on gender-based violence and prevention.” Manion notes, “Cases involving rape, sexual assault and domestic violence often share some common evidentiary issues, and a focused approach will improve the prosecution of these serious crimes.” The division includes the Domestic Violence Unit, the Sexually Violent Predator Unit, Special Assault Units that handle sex crimes, prosecutors handling commercial sexual exploitation (trafficking), and Hate Crimes, among other practices.

*A new Economic Crimes and Wage Theft Division to “include organized retail theft, economic crimes, identity theft, multiple types of fraud, elder abuse, and wage theft.” Manion noted, “In 2022, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed more than double the number of organized retail theft charges than it did in 2021. Many of those cases were filed in collaboration with the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.”

*A new Felony Traffic Unit is being created “to underscore the importance and seriousness of vehicular homicide and assault cases and their devastating impacts on victims and survivors.”

The announcement adds:

The volume of felony criminal cases is not expected to decrease with today’s announcements of new divisions and units. Violent crimes and repeat property crimes remain a priority. Prior to today’s announcements of new divisions and units, the mainstream Criminal Division typically filed between 20-30 felony cases each day. (Here’s a summary for December.)

The announcement also shared the org chart that results from all this, with the last org chart under Manion’s predecessor Dan Satterberg (for whom she served as Chief of Staff).

9 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: New King County Prosecuting Attorney Leesa Manion announces changes"

  • Jort January 25, 2023 (11:18 am)

    That’s weird, I was assured by several Internet commentators that Manion’s policies would be: “prosecute nobody, release all prisoners, abolish the concept of law and justice and direct all of the prosecutor’s budget towards a fund that gives away one-way tickets to Seattle and free 30 year old RVs to anybody who asks.” Now I read that she’s working on the regular, everyday work of prosecuting crimes in the county? No way. So weird, because I was told repeatedly that the choice between Manion and Jim Ferrell was a choice between “destroying” the city and protecting lives and property. 

    • WS Res January 25, 2023 (11:57 am)

      Sounds like a very encouraging agenda she’s setting, instead.  Glad I voted for her.

      • Frog January 25, 2023 (12:40 pm)

        Yes, and after all those bad guys are prosecuted, I trust they will be sentenced to some pretty serious counseling.  Or maybe told to clean their rooms (but no one will check if they did nor not.)  Seriously, I didn’t notice a word about what would happen after prosecution, or the second or third or fourth prosecution.  That part would be interesting too.

    • Rhonda January 25, 2023 (12:32 pm)

      It’s still the honeymoon phase and we don’t yet know if the handsome prince we married will turn back into a frog or not.

    • Mel January 25, 2023 (1:33 pm)

      I didn’t vote for her but I’ll be thrilled if she succeeds in making Seattle safer and making changes to the prosecutors office. That being said, everyone in this city has plenty of ideas when they step into office. I look forward to seeing how her plans come to fruition and wish her (and us citizens!) the best.

    • wscommuter January 25, 2023 (2:18 pm)

      Ahh … the straw horses trotted out.  Okay, go with your hyperbole.  Unimpressed by these “moves” … repackaging for the most part what KCPO already does.  Nothing  new here so much as a public relations step.  Which is fine … but I’d suggest a check back in 12-18 months and see if these moves actually affect any real change.  For example, KCPO already has a highly competent and effective unit that prosecutes vehicular assault/homicide, which Mannion knows.  But slap a different label on and see what happens that’s new …  we’ll see.
      This is a PR move for those who don’t know the truth of what KCPO already does. But it does allow the uninformed to be impressed …

  • 1994 January 25, 2023 (11:47 am)

    Fingers crossed  there will be “protecting lives and property.” in addition to services (mental health, SUD treatment…) for those needing them which seems to be the majority of those that end up in front of a judge or in jail.

    • Been here a while January 25, 2023 (2:56 pm)

      Mental Health services is not just about being compassionate to those who have problems or are less fortunate than you, it actually DOES protect lives and property better and at less cost.  Happy to see these policies!

  • Pdavis January 28, 2023 (10:22 am)

    Very disappointing agenda! The prosecuting attorney needs to be focusing on hard core crime that is happening every day! It’s getting dangerous to live in the city and the focus needs to be on robbery , assault, driving vehicles in the buildings! HELLO???If you don’t get serious about crime, it’ll be the last time you get elected. We need hard core crime stopped. Not the little fancy dance.

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