In 2016, the City Attorney’s Office under Pete Holmes declined to file 64% of all domestic violence cases that the Seattle police sent to his office. In fact, domestic violence filing rates dropped precipitously immediately after Holmes took office in 2010.
For those cases that are filed, over two-thirds of the charges are subsequently dismissed, and many of the cases linger for years. A recent KIRO TV investigation found that, “In dozens of cases, charges were not filed for months -- sometimes even more than a year -- after suspects were arrested. When charges were eventually filed, assistants working for Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes often gave no explanation for the delays. This means that in cases where suspects are arrested for domestic violence and other serious crimes, they’ve been allowed to go free while waiting for charges.”
There are many legitimate reasons for the City Attorney to not file individual cases (i.e., insufficient evidence) but when nearly two-thirds of all cases are declined, that points to a systemic failure – victims do not get resolution, abusers don’t face accountability, and police officers feel like it’s not worth the effort.
Seattle needs fresh leadership with a new vision for how to tackle our public safety challenges and protect victims of domestic violence. We can do much better. As City Attorney, I will prioritize prosecution of domestic violence cases and focus on effective and timely resolution of these cases.
That is why progressive leaders, the Seattle Firefighters union, and the Seattle Times have endorsed Scott.
"Lindsay makes a strong case that Holmes is wasting his prosecutorial powers. Criminal case filings for non-traffic offenses — such as car prowls and domestic violence — have dropped steadily in Holmes’ eight years” -Seattle Times Editorial Board