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Seattle’s Problem with Repeat Offenders

Posted by Steve Karimi | Oct 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

2019 has been a year for criticizing Seattle's prosecutors and the number of prolific repeat offenders. The City's Attorney's Office has little to say on the matter, other than their department needs $2 million more to be able to prosecute the crimes they are dealing with.

The first report came out in February 2019 and is titled “System Failure.” It analyzed 100 individuals who have a high-frequency of criminal activity in Seattle. Many of those 100 individuals were committing crimes to pay for drugs, and many of the individuals also have mental health issues. Many are also homeless.

The latest report, titled in part, “Declines, Delays, and Dismissals” outlines the number of misdemeanor cases that go largely unpunished, saying that the Seattle City Attorney's Office does not prosecute about half of all non-traffic arrests. This latest report was released in September.

Prolific Offenders

Prolific offenders are those who commit a misdemeanor crime of some sort. Seattle police will arrest, charge, and then release them, only for them to return to commit another crime—sometimes within the same day. The report, which was commissioned by neighborhood business groups, says that the problem of prolific offenders has resulted in under-reporting of crimes, low police morale, and a vicious cycle where vulnerable people are perpetually incarcerated.

The report states that (1) the Seattle City Attorney's Office does not file charges in almost half of the cases the Seattle Police Department refers for prosecution; (2) the City's Attorney's Office takes an average of six months to file cases when the suspect is not in custody (which could mean the suspect is committing more crimes while they wait); and (3) the dysfunction of the criminal justice system has had a negative impact on victims, police, and defendants.

Impact of Prolific Offenders

The CEO of the grocery chain Uwajimaya told a local radio station during an interview that many times, store managers have stopped calling the police to report shoplifting or other criminal disturbances. She added that when Seattle Police are called, they are great, “But the next day or the next afternoon that person is back in the store, so it's difficult to see how when we do report things, how it's actually contributing to making things better.”

On Friday, October 25, at a meeting of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, which is a group made up of 78 chiefs, commissioners, and sheriffs from cities around the country, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best commented on the prolific offender issue, saying and Tweeting, “This not only hurts our community, but officer morale as well.”

Seattle Defense Attorney Steve Karimi

Despite the statistics in these two reports, you may have found yourself charged with a misdemeanor and are now facing serious consequences—and things are coming at you fast. You owe it to yourself to hire a well-qualified, knowledgable defense attorney who can help build a case that will prove your innocence. Call the Law Offices of Steve Karimi at 206-621-8777 or fill out an online contact form to get started on your free consultation today.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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If you were arrested or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Seattle or surrounding areas of Washington State, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.

Seattle Defense Lawyer

Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.