Analysis of Seattle City Council Proposal to Excuse And Dismiss Most Misdemeanor Crimes (PDF)
October 26, 2020
By Scott Lindsay – attorney; Seattle resident; former public safety advisor and special assistant for police reform to the City of Seattle; former senior counsel to House Oversight Committee Democrats.
On Wednesday, October 21, Councilmember Lisa Herbold, chairperson of the Seattle City Council’s Public Safety Committee, introduced far-reaching legislation to excuse and dismiss almost all misdemeanor crimes committed in Seattle by persons with symptoms of addiction or mental disorder. Any perpetrator with a credible claim of behavioral health symptoms – anything from drug use to depression – would effectively have blanket immunity from prosecution for misdemeanor assault, theft, harassment, trespass, stalking, car prowl, and 100 other Seattle criminal laws.
Councilmember Herbold’s proposal would create a legal loophole that would open the floodgates to crime in Seattle, effectively nullifying the city’s ability to protect persons and property from most misdemeanor crimes.