Jim Ferrell answers Change Washington’s public safety questions
October 21, 2022
Earlier this month we emailed both King County Prosecutor Candidates, Jim Ferrell and Leesa Manion, inviting them to participate in a questionnaire about public safety and crime in the region.
Below are the questions and responses from Jim Ferrell. Leesa Manion did not respond after several emails were sent.
Question 1: Describe your background and prior experience prosecuting crime. What was your most successful case or the prosecution where you felt you performed your role best?
Answer: I have been in hundreds of jury trials and handled thousands of cases. In that time, the most meaningful trials were getting justice for victims of homicide and domestic violence.
Question 2. How do you feel about the current state of crime and public safety in King County? How would rank public safety in King County between 1-10, with 10 being safest and 1 being least safe. Why do you think it’s that way?
Answer: We are facing an epidemic of violent gun & drug related crimes. The backlog of felony cases is literally crashing the system. As a result of those two facts, I would say we are currently at a 3 on the scale. We can and must do better!
Question 3. What do you think is the most urgent crisis facing King County in terms of crime? (catalytic converter thefts, robberies, shootings, etc)
Answer: The most urgent issue facing our region is the unacceptable 4,500 case backlog of felony cases. The seriousness of the crimes, combined with a lack of a discernible plan, and leadership are causing our criminal justice system to buckle.
Question 4. What is your vision for the King County Prosecutor’s Office in terms of its role in the regional justice system?
Answer: Here is what Mark Larson, former Chief Criminal Deputy of the King County Prosecutor’s Office had to say:
“Currently, King County is experiencing high levels of violence. No community is unaffected and people are justifiably concerned. Moreover, victims of these crimes deserve to have the best and most experienced deputy prosecutors as their advocates. Sadly, over the past few years, highly experienced trial prosecutors have been leaving these positions in record numbers. The reasons are many, but the Seattle Times was correct to point out the need to rebuild “the pride and loyalty once found among [KCPAO] attorneys and staff.”
As Prosecutor, I return justice and accountability to that office and restore the quality of work done by DPA’s.
Question 5. What is diversion programming and what purpose does it have in reducing crime?
Answer: Diversion programs are an important part of our criminal justice system. When used correctly diversions serve as an alternative to jail time and work to rehabilitate lives, getting offenders back on track. I support diversion programs rooted in accountability.
Question 6. If elected, what is one change you’d make immediately?
Answer: I will immediately change the approach to addressing the unacceptable nearly 5,000 felony case backlog. We will lobby for more resources to hire former and pro tem Judges to expand the bandwidth limitations of prosecuting these cases. We will stand-up a special unit to tackle these cases and ensure justice for the victims of these crimes.
Question 7. The county is looking at a “zero youth detention by 2025” goal. Do you think this is a realistic goal by 2025?
Answer: While aspirational, this is not a plan tethered to reality. No one wants to see our youth in trouble, but when a juvenile commits a serious crime, there must be consequences.
Question 8. If elected, what is the most important thing you want to accomplish by the end of your term?
Answer: I want to restore a sense of justice to our criminal justice system. We will prioritize public safety and do our level best to make sure we work with regional partners to ensure that families not only feel safe but are safe!