All Cases Referred to the City Attorney’s Office by the Seattle Police Department Will Receive a Filing Decision in Five Business Days
February 7, 2022 – City Attorney Ann Davison announced today an immediate change to filing cases in the City Attorney’s Office. Effective immediately, a filing decision will be made in all incoming cases within five business days. This change will stop adding to the case backlog which has grown over the past three years and is the most effective way to immediately tackle crime in Seattle.
Before today’s action, new cases were sent to the end of the line until they could be acted on accordingly. The Seattle City Attorney’s Office (CAO) Criminal Division has a case backlog of approximately 5,000 cases which can mean up to a two year long waiting period for victims. The current backlog is the largest the City Attorney’s Office has ever experienced.
“This immediate change follows a deep assessment of the City Attorney’s Office processes and structure for addressing our case filings and intake. The best way to interrupt crime happening on the streets today is by quickly and efficiently moving on the cases referred to us by the Seattle Police Department,” said City Attorney Ann Davison. “I am confident that we have made the operational changes necessary to support this action and I know my attorneys and staff will work hard to make sure we meet these new filing deadlines in service to our city.”
“As a prosecutor, I know that it makes sense to process cases as the come in. The longer a case sits, the harder it becomes to prosecute. I’m grateful for Brian Moran’s thoughtful approach and recommendations on how the City Attorney’s Office can work through our backlog and best serve the Seattle community,” said incoming Criminal Chief Natalie Walton-Anderson. “Timely justice for victims is just as important as timely intervention for those committing crimes.”
“My recommendation and assessment is just the first step to solving the City Attorney’s Office case backlog,” said former U.S. Attorney Brian Moran. “The office will immediately stop adding to the number of cases that need to be filed and can address the nearly 5,000 cases that are waiting for review.”
Crime has steadily increased in Seattle since over the past two years. As crime and case intake increases, the backlog continues to grow. The new filing deadline will immediately ensure that the backlog stops growing, and cases are filed quickly.
At the start of January, former U.S. Attorney Brian Moran immediately began assisting the criminal division to identify process improvements and develop a plan to address the backlog. This recommendation was the first to come out of his work. He will continue to develop additional recommendations to shrink the backlog in the Criminal Division and identify further areas of improvement. Moran is one of the most distinguished prosecutors in Washington state history, having personally tried 35 homicide cases and led criminal offices at the local, state, and federal level.