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Race for King County Prosecutor comes down to diversion vs. rolling back reforms

With its local Democratic incumbents running unopposed at the state level, the biggest political race facing Capitol Hill voters in the November 8th election just might be the one major battle where an incumbent is stepping aside.

Two Democrats are on the ballot to take over for the retiring Dan Satterberg as King County Prosecutor but they are taking much different approaches to how they would handle the job of continuing to shift the prosecutor’s office to both incorporate new strategies for address public safety and rehabilitation while also pursuing justice.

Satterberg’s chief of staff Leesa Manion promises to continue her boss’s efforts to reform the office and would be the first woman and person of color to serve as King County Prosecutor while Federal Way mayor Jim Ferrell says he would bring a throwback, “tough on crime” approach to the office.

For the last 15 years, Manion has worked as the chief of staff for the prosecutor. She first entered the office in 1995 as a Rule 9 Legal Intern after graduating from Seattle University School of Law. Manion was born in Seoul, South Korea to a Korean mother and white father.

Responding to criticism surrounding how Satterberg’s office handled crime and repeat offenders, few long-term solutions and a “revolving-door” of offenses, Manion told CHS she sess a multi-faceted approach as the solution. This looks like helping people who are stealing to feed themselves or who are struggling with a mental illness or addiction and also accumulating data to crack down on organized crime and systematic attacks on businesses, Manion says. “I think that the people in King County are really compassionate, and I believe that the compassion has been tested,” Manion said.

Ferrell says he wants to pull back on diversion. He says programs should be limited to misdemeanors and low level felonies, with the exceptions of crimes such as residential burglaries, second-degree robberies, felony harassment and others and has also highlighted changes he wants to make to the Restorative Community Pathways (RCP) program, a diversion program which puts a small number first-time criminal offenders in front of a nonprofit community panel instead of a court.

Ferrell wants to remove some of the crimes that are eligible for the program as well as to ensure a check-in with a judicial officer in the beginning to make sure that nothing is lost in the system. “I think RCP is eminently fixable, I could fix it in a day,” Ferrell told CHS. “There needs to be an accountability element, there needs to be essentially a check in and check back to make sure that whatever was promised to be done, has been done.”

Voters will need to choose between the approaches and decide if they side with Manion’s pledge of continuity and continued effort to pursue new methods that will truly work to reduce crime and end the cycle of repeat offenders — or join Ferrell and give up on some of the reforms of the past decade. “I don’t think that we’re doing people favors by showing so much mercy that we’re figuratively looking the other way,” Ferrell told CHS earlier this year. “When people do hit incarceration they’ve got to be in a situation in which they learn from this.”

You can learn more at leesamanion.com and jimferrell.org.

 

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urbanite
urbanite
1 year ago

Serious? “Voters will need to choose between the approaches and decide if they side with Manion’s pledge of continuity and continued effort to pursue new methods that will truly work to reduce crime and end the cycle of repeat offenders” — Where is the proof that Manion and Satterberg’s policies have “truly worked?” Crime has skyrocketed in Seattle. That isn’t Republican talking points that’s fact. (One of many articles: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/seattle-continues-to-go-backward-on-crime-as-much-as-30-years-back/)

Manion will continue the policies that have brought us defacto decriminalization of lethal drugs, keep dealers our of jail and on the street, and establish as the permanent new normal two fentanyl deaths today. What is the difference between that and legalized murder? Why are we protecting the people who sell drugs that kill and keeping the drug markets open? Manion has never led a city, Ferrell has been mayor for 8 years. Manion has never been a prosecutor, Ferrell did that job for 16 years. This is the most important race of this election.

Glenn
Glenn
1 year ago

Did Mr. Ferrell actually say he would bring a ‘tough on crime ‘ approach to the office? You’ve placed the phrase in quotes and written that he said he would bring that approach to the office. But I don’t see him making that statement. What I see is an article written in such a way as to editorialize without acknowledgement.

Chaz
Chaz
1 year ago

Ferrell will bring a much needed fresh perspective, common sense, and hopefully results to the King County Prosecutors office after years of ideologically-driven leadership that became detached from reality. Mansion is just more of the same Chesa Boudin style decriminalization of crime that has created a revolving door for dangerous repeat offenders and led to the unraveling of civil society. We need a course correction!

district13tribute
district13tribute
1 year ago

Interesting to see that both The Stranger and CHS publish an “article” on the same day claiming the current policies are credible and actually leading to better outcomes. It’s gaslighting and disappointing. Enabling drug users to do whatever they want and coddling them until they are ready to accept help is only endangering them and putting the rest of the public at risk. These polices are killing people. They are not data driven, they are progressive fantasies and I can only hope most voters see through this misinformation and vote to repudiate Manion and others like her who have contributed to the decline of public safety in Seattle and surrounding communities.

zach
zach
1 year ago

I’m for Ferrell’s approach. Hopefully, King County voters will follow the lead of Seattle voters, who elected Ann Davison as City Prosecuting Attorney, and who is actually doing something about rampant crime and no longer looks the other way.

Chaz
Chaz
1 year ago
Reply to  zach

I have seen a real difference under Davison at the grocery stores on Capitol Hill. It is much less of a sh*tshow now that arrests are at least a possibility. Under Pete Holmes it was a free for all. The King County Prosecutor is an even more important position because they are responsible for felonies. Ferrell will return the office to sanity after years of poor leadership and failed experiments that created a revolving door for repeat offenders, many of whom migrated here from other parts of country to the Wild West where there are no consequences for significant crimes under woke prosecutors.

FNH
FNH
1 year ago

Even if it weren’t obvious that the Satterburg/Manion approach isn’t working, I’m disinclined to vote for Manion who touts her gender and race as qualifications for a job for which it is irrelevant. We are all suffering from poor governance that comes from choosing leaders based on who or what they identify as instead of on any relevant experience or qualifications.

Gerald
Gerald
1 year ago

I am a D3 resident and so hopeful for Ferrell. Its exasperating what is going on in our City and County. Sometimes I think people in Seattle are in denial about how much serious crime is happening 24/7. Leesa Manion to me sounds like same ol’ same ol.

Sigh
Sigh
1 year ago

Gee, I wonder which candidate CHS favors?

Boyejo Coker
1 year ago

The truth is neither of these candidates are good choices. For those of you clamoring for Jim Ferrell, I suggest you take a drive to Federal Way, the City he has been Mayor of for close 8 years. Federal Way became notoriously known as “Felony Way” under his stewardship. Ferrell used to be a Republican and became a Democrat (I believe in 2012). He has never met a liberal agenda he did not like. He pandered to the liberal elements in the Federal Way City council so much, it drove voters to vote “conservative” in the last elections and basically alter the composition of the City council. Ferrell himself won the election because only about a third of eligible voters actually voted, and he got about two thirds of those votes. His hall mark is indifference and he is pretty much a political climber. If he becomes the King County Prosecutor, he will do anything and everything to ensure professional and self preservation. He is only seeking this position because it is now popular to be tough on crime. When it becomes unpopular, he will adapt and go with the flow. He is without doubt the worst Mayor in the history of Federal Way, and it is shocking that a man whose City essentially is the “flagship city” for crime is being seen as a viable candidate to be tough on crime? I personally will vote for him though because I want him out of Federal Way as we plot to take back our city from the fringe liberal elements and hoodlums he has allowed to flourish under his watch.