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King County felony case filings drop slightly in 2012

King County prosecutors filed 46 percent of their felony cases in 2012 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. - Kent Reporter, file photo
King County prosecutors filed 46 percent of their felony cases in 2012 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

The King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office filed 43 fewer felony cases in 2012 than in 2011.

Prosecutors filed 6,135 felony cases last year, according to statistics released in February by the King County Department of Judicial Administration.  About 46 percent of the cases were filed at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. The rest were filed at the King County Courthouse in Seattle.

Violent crimes accounted for nearly 40 percent of the cases, including 62 homicides, 435 sex crime offenses, including failure to register as a sex offender; 419 robbery cases and 1,336 aggravated assaults (assault with a weapon or serious bodily injury).

In addition, the office filed 140 auto theft cases and 1,694 burglary and theft cases.

Felony drug cases, mostly delivery of drugs, accounted for (1,108) 18.1 percent of the total, down slightly from 2011 (18.9) and 2010 (20.7). Almost half of those cases, 553, were referred into Drug Court, where defendants are offered a treatment alternative to traditional prosecution and prison.  Charges are dismissed for Drug Court defendants who successfully complete treatment.

For most of the 1990s and until 2007, felony drug cases represented approximately one-third of felony cases filed, compared to about one-sixth today.

“We are fortunate to be in a period where our felony caseloads remain relatively flat,” said King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg in a media release. “We know that each felony case is a very serious matter for the victims and the defendants involved. The deputy prosecutors and staff in our Criminal Division do a remarkable job handling this heavy volume of cases, never losing sight of our mission to do justice, and with the care and compassion that victims deserve and our citizens expect."

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