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).
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