Seattle Prosecutor Wants Tougher Teen Gun Penalties


On track to file twice as many juvenile cases in adult court this year compared with last year, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg in Seattle is searching for ways to stiffen penalties faced by violent teenagers, reports the Seattle Times. Of 19 cases this year Satterberg transferred from juvenile to felony court – the same number as in all of last year – the majority have involved guns and gangs. “By the time a juvenile has picked up a gun and is firing shots at other people, they are no longer juveniles in either my view or in the eyes of the law,” Satterberg said.

Satterberg, who serves on the state Sentencing Guidelines Commission, wants to see a change in sentences for all juveniles linked to gun crimes, not just the ones with a prior criminal history or who have used the gun to commit another crime, such as a robbery. “Right now, a juvenile who is convicted of possessing a handgun, which is illegal, is eligible for no detention time at all,” he said. “We’re saying if we catch them with a gun and they haven’t used it yet, it’s no big deal.”

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