Today, City Attorney Ann Davison sent a formal request to the Seattle Municipal Court asking that individuals who meet the criteria for the High Utilizer Initiative be excluded from an agreement signed in 2019 that requires the City Attorney’s Office to refer these individuals to the release-first model of Community Court.
“For the last several weeks, my office has negotiated in good faith with the Honorable Judge Damon Shadid and the Department of Public Defense to remove frequent offenders who meet the High Utilizer Initiative criteria from eligibility in Community Court. Community Court’s release-first model, voluntary referrals to services, and limited accountability mechanisms are the wrong interventions for individuals committing repeat, high-impact criminal activity. Under its current design, many individuals who repeatedly commit serious crimes or have dozens of police referrals are automatically sent to Community Court even though data shows that this type of intervention fails to address their activity or deter them from reoffending.
My office requested that the Community Court agreement signed by my predecessor in 2019 be modified to exclude individuals who meet the criteria of the High Utilizer Initiative and to clarify how many chances an individual gets to have their cases referred to Community Court. Unfortunately, Judge Shadid insisted that he would not exclude individuals repeatedly committing serious crimes.
In order to make a real impact on public safety, it’s absolutely critical that the City Attorney’s Office be allowed to fulfill its obligation to prosecute the misdemeanor crimes repeatedly occurring on our streets today. I am formally requesting that the Seattle Municipal Court consider our modifications to the Community Court Agreement so we can maintain an important diversion alternative for the people for whom it actually works.”
The letter sent to the Honorable Judges of the Seattle Municipal Court can be found here.