King County Attorney Dan Satterberg announces his resignation



FILE – King County Attorney Dan Satterberg addresses a press conference Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in Seattle. Satterberg announced on Friday, January 7, 2022 that he would not stand for re-election after four terms this year. (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson, File)


King County Attorney Dan Satterberg announced Friday that he will not run for re-election after four terms this year.

Satterberg has spent his entire career in the office, having started as an intern in 1984 and accepted a full-time position the next year. Then-prosecutor Norm Maleng appointed him chief of staff at the age of 30, and he worked closely with Maleng until his sudden death in 2007 when Satterberg became prosecutor.

In a statement on Friday, he said he wanted to focus this year on addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic, which include around 6,000 criminal offenses. He also said that during the COVID era, he was at home with his wife, a lawyer at Microsoft, realizing where he wanted to be.

“Working in this position has been an extraordinary privilege for me and the PA chosen is the best job I could ever have, but it’s not the only thing I would ever want to do with my life,” said Satterberg.

Satterberg, who was a Republican until 2018 when President Donald Trump’s tenure inspired him to leave the party and become a Democrat, was known for taking progressive steps as a prosecutor.

In the days leading up to cannabis legalization in Washington, he made it clear that he was not interested in prosecuting sick medical marijuana patients. He worked on setting up a diversion program that would save low-level narcotics and prostitution cases in court, and tried to re-convict people facing life imprisonment under the state’s three-strike law.

Satterberg also sponsored a diversion program that became the nonprofit Choose 180, which aims to keep young people out of the criminal justice system.

Satterberg’s chief of staff Leesa Manion quickly announced a campaign to replace him. She would be the first woman and first person of color to run the office with more than 575 employees.

As of 1949, there were only four elected prosecutors: Chuck Carroll, who served from 1949 through 1971; Chris Bayley, 1971-79; Maleng, 1979-2007; and Satterberg.


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