King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announces retirement

<p><p>Associated Press</p></p><p><p>SEATTLE – King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announced Friday that after four terms in office, he won’t seek re-election this year.</p></p><p><p>Satterberg has spent his entire career in the office, having joined it as an intern in 1984 and taking a full-time job the next year. Then-Prosecutor Norm Maleng made him chief of staff at age 30, and he worked closely with Maleng until his sudden death in 2007, when Satterberg became prosecutor.</p></p><p><p>In a statement Friday he said he wants to focus this year on addressing challenges posed by the pandemic, which include a backlog of some 6,000 felony cases. He also said that being home with his wife, an attorney at Microsoft, during COVID helped him realize that’s where he wants to be.</p></p><p><p>“Serving in this office has been an extraordinary privilege for me, and being the elected PA is the best job that I could ever have, but it’s not the only thing that I ever want to do with my life,” Satterberg said.</p></p><p><p>Satterberg, a Republican until 2018, when President Donald Trump’s tenure helped inspire him to leave the party and become a Democrat, was known for taking progressive steps as a prosecutor.</p></p><p><p>In the days before cannabis legalization in Washington, he made clear he wasn’t interested in prosecuting sick medical marijuana patients. He worked to help establish a diversion program that has kept low-level narcotics and prostitution cases out of court, and he sought to resentence people who faced life in prison under the state’s three-strikes law.</p></p><p><p>Satterberg also backed a diversion program that became the nonprofit Choose 180, aimed at keeping young people out of the criminal justice system.</p></p><p><p>Satterberg’s chief of staff, Leesa Manion, quickly announced a campaign to replace him.</p></p><p><p>She would be the first woman and first person of color to head the office, which has more than 575 employees.</p></p><p><p>There have been only four elected prosecutors since 1949: Chuck Carroll, who served from 1949-71; Chris Bayley, 1971-79; Maleng, 1979-2007; and Satterberg.</p></p>