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Seattle City Attorney Tightens Filing Deadline for Incoming Cases to Address Growing Backlog

Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison announced a new policy Monday, which will change how her office prioritizes incoming cases referred by the Seattle Police Department.

Shortly before taking office, Davison cited concerns over a backlog of 3,885 unfiled criminal cases dating back over two years, ranging from offenses like assault and domestic violence, to theft and property destruction. As outgoing City Attorney Pete Holmes’ office noted, that backlog was largely driven by pandemic-related policies that dramatically curtailed jury trials for 15 months.

Just over a month into her first term, Davison says her office’s backlog has now ballooned to roughly 5,000 cases. That’s largely what informed her new policy, which will now require that a charging decision on each incoming case be made within five business days following its referral.

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