The ability of Seattle’s King County to respond to emergency police calls, investigate crimes, and prosecute and supervise criminals is in jeopardy because of budget shortfalls, reports the Seattle Times. If the county makes a 12 percent across-the-board cut – roughly the magnitude of the projected funding gap – 36 prosecutors would be laid off, leaving only two-thirds of the lawyers the office had two years ago, said Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg. “Justice in King County will be unrecognizable if we take this kind of cut,” he said.
Such cuts would likely lead to dismissing criminal cases, he said, because of delays, and felony suspects would be released if prosecutors couldn’t meet a 72-hour deadline for filing charges. Satterberg, Sheriff Sue Rahr, District Court Presiding Judge Barbara Linde and Superior Court Presiding Judge Bruce Hilyer told council members how they would handle 12 percent cuts. The four have suggested that voters be asked to approve a sales-tax increase of up to three-tenths of a penny to fund criminal justice, public health. and human services.