After two rounds of staff cuts and a rise in aggravated assaults, Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg in Seattle’s King County says he doesn’t have enough attorneys left to keep up with high-priority property crimes, reports the Seattle Times. He asked a county council committee for $225,000 to cut a growing backlog of nonviolent felonies for which prosecutors haven’t filed charges.
Satterberg’s money request comes three months after voters rejected a proposed sales-tax increase that would have maintained criminal-justice programs at last year’s levels. Satterberg was among those pushing for the tax increase. If his request is approved, it would come from a $1.5 million set aside in the 2011 budget for “the most pressing and emergent criminal justice and public safety needs.” Since 2008, budget cuts have eliminated the jobs of 28 criminal prosecutors, or 16 percent of them, while the number of aggravated assaults — crimes usually involving weapons — nearly doubled to 1,546 last year, Satterberg said.