Under City Attorney Ann Davison’s Leadership, City Attorney’s Office is Making Significant Strides to Improve Justice for Victims
Today, City Attorney Ann Davison released the Second Quarter 2022 report, highlighting the significant strides that the City Attorney’s Office has made towards improving justice for victims. The 50-page report, which includes data far beyond the information requested by Council ordinance, shows that, following the implementation of the Close-in-Time filing policy, the Criminal Division has reduced the median time to make a filing decision in criminal cases to 3 days. From 2017 – 2021, it took on average 129 days – over four months – for the City Attorney’s Office to make a filing decision. This is a 98% reduction compared to the median decision time from the previous five years.
“I am so proud to highlight the incredible work of the dedicated Criminal Division staff in this report. Since taking office, I have been committed to re-centering victims in the public safety system in Seattle, and the data in this report proves that we are making significant progress in delivering on this promise,” said City Attorney Ann Davison. “Seattle residents, business owners, and community members deserve a criminal justice system that works for them and prioritizes the safety of our communities. My office will continue to lead with data and transparency, to ensure that we are making meaningful improvements to public safety in Seattle.”
Immediate review of incoming reports has led to faster case filing and more victims participating in their cases. In 2021, 27% of domestic violence referrals were declined due to a difficulty in contacting victims. By Q2 2022, that proportion has dropped to only 8%. Previously, with long case filing delays, many victims lost interest in participating in their cases and witnesses became harder to contact.
The City Attorney’s Office is also filing significantly more cases compared to this time last year as a result of increased efficiency and better reporting coming from the Seattle Police Department and the community. Compared to last year, the Criminal Division has seen a 124% increase in the number of cases filed, while the case decline rate for new police criminal referrals has gone down. Fewer declines results in less prosecutor time wasted reviewing police reports where no action is taken.
The report also shows that the City Attorney’s Office has made steady progress addressing the 5,000-case backlog that the office inherited. Assistant City Prosecutors have made 900 case filing decisions on older cases in Q2 since City Attorney Davison announced her plan to address the backlog.
You can read the full report here.