STEVEN J. TUCKER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY
2003 in Spokane County
was another very successful
year for the Prosecutor’s Office.
This year, we implemented the
Felony Diversion Program. This
is a pre-charging diversion
program designed to allow non-
violent first offenders an
opportunity to make the victim
whole and avoid a felony
conviction. This program eases
both the jail overcrowding
problem as well as heavy
caseload pressures. We also
implemented our Prosecutor in
Every School program. Each of our deputy prosecutors is assigned
to one or two of our local schools. They are available to the
administration and students for advice and presentations. In the first
full year of our Check Enforcement Program, we recovered $ 55,104
for our local merchants. In 2003, we again hit an all-time high of
filing over 4,000 felony cases, twice as many as 10 years ago.
I’m honored to represent the people of Spokane County and to
be able to work with such a fine, hard-working, dedicated group of
people in this office. Thanks to all whose work is reflected in this
SPOKANE COUNTY PROSECUTING ATTORNEY'S OFFICE 2003
Staffing Level by Division Attorneys Support Staff Total
Administration incl 4 6 10
Civil Division 7 4 11
Felony Division 35 17 52
Juvenile Division 6 2 8
Misdemeanor Division & DV 9 13 22
Appeals Unit 2 1 3
Family Law Unit 11 21 32
Victim/Witness 5.5 5.5
Totals 74 69.5 143.5
The above table includes regular employees and does not include Legal Interns
and extra help positions.
CRIMINAL DIVISION - FELONIES
The major crimes unit prosecutes murder, felony assault, kidnapping, robbery,
harassment and arson crimes. The unit is comprised of six attorneys, one paralegal,
and one secretary. The unit works closely with many different law enforcement
agencies including the federal government and the City of Spokane. Notwithstanding
the numerous guilty pleas, the unit had 44 jury trials in the calendar year 2003. With
regard to the 44 jury trials, the unit obtained 82 convictions out of 87 criminal charges.
In addition, the unit had 454 referrals resulting in 1236 charges, with a net result of 299
disposed cases. Disposed major crimes cases in 2003 resulted in prison sentences
resulting in 8140 months with an additional 1236 months of deadly weapon
In the year 2003, the Special Assault Unit was comprised of three and one half
deputy prosecuting attorneys, a paralegal, a secretary and a child victim advocate. We
also had the assistance of three victim advocates from the Victim Witness Unit, in our
adult cases. The unit prosecuted felony sex crimes, including sex crimes involving
domestic violence, crimes against children, child pornography, failures to register as
sexual offenders and crimes against vulnerable adults.
Continuing a long tradition in the unit of addressing special issues through
specialization, one of the deputies specialized this year in the prosecution of charges of
drug related child endangerment, under RCW 9A.42.100. This deputy works closely
with city and county law enforcement agencies to enforce this new statute. One deputy
continues to specialize and train in the prosecution of child pornography and sexual
exploitation of children. The part time deputy continues to specialize in the prosecution
of failures to registers as a sexual offender and crimes against vulnerable adults.
The Unit also represents the office on the Spokane Sex Offender Management
Team, the Spokane County Child Death Review committee, the Multidisciplinary Team
on child abuse and neglect issues and the Critique Group at Partners with Families and
Children and the Adult Victims of Sexual Assault Committee (AVSAC) which addressed
the issues related to the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults committed
against adult victims. The group continues to take a multidisciplinary approach to these
cases and includes law enforcement, advocates, hospital personnel, Jim Hansen, a HITS
investigator with the Washington State Attorney General’ s Office and the Director of
the Spokane office of the Washington State Crime Lab. It has also been instrumental in
working with the Washington State Crime Lab to facilitate the testing of DNA in sexual
assault cases and in training allied professionals in evidence handling.
In the year 2003, the gang unit dealt with numerous homicide, rapes and
robberies by gang members. The homicide cases tended to create their own caseload
because of the type of witnesses involved (gang members). Many individuals involved
were arrested on unrelated crimes and are serving substantial prison terms due to the
hard work of law enforcement, the federal government and our unit. Again, last year
we saw an increase in gang related drive-by shootings and violence that went unsolved.
Many of the cases that were resolved involving guns went to the Major Crimes Gun
Deputy. Even with that, the gang unit filed over 270 cases during the course of the
year 2003. The Gang Unit closed over 220 files by trial or plea in 2003. Many of them
were violent offenses with the majority being murder, attempted murders, robbery,
rapes, violent assaults and drug delivery cases. ”Meth” busts involving gang members
have increased substantially. Again this year numerous gang members were prosecuted
federally on gun and drug charges. This helped facilitate pleas in state court and ease
increasing caseloads. Many gang related crimes remain unsolved due to an increase in
witness intimidation. Sadly, 2003 saw another increase in youth related gang activities.
As 2003 closed and 2004 started, the Gang Unit saw a sharp increase in their case load
and had to start sending cases out to other units including major crimes, property and
In 2003, domestic violence continued to be one our Community’s and Office’s
greatest challenges. While the overall number of reported incidents was slightly
decreased, the severity of those incidents increased slightly. In 2003, the felony cases
reviewed and approved for filing numbered 460 with another 238 felony cases (228
were declined outright and 10 were referred for filing in District Court) reviewed and
declined for prosecution for a total of 698 felony case referrals.
The infrastructure for the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Team (hereafter
“SRDVT”) was created in 1996. The SRDVT opened its doors in January 1997 with
staff members from the seven participating agencies in the Monroe Court Building in
Spokane. The participating agencies contribute personnel and resources to the SRDVT
in addition to the grant monies received from the United States Department of Justice
through the Violence Against Women Act. One of the most significant events of 2003
was the commitment of the Spokane County Board of Commissioners and the Spokane
City Mayor & Council to continue the funding of the SRDVT through general funding,
which was established in 2000-01. The continued County & City funding is a
declaration that the Spokane community recognizes the existence of domestic violence
in our community and the need to be deal with its issues to improve the lives of all.
For 2003, the participating agencies provided seven attorneys, two APR 9
Interns, three detectives, one deputy five criminal victim advocates, one civil advocate,
five support staff, as well as additional part-time personnel to make up the SRDVT.
Members of the SRDVT investigated and prosecuted criminal charges ranging from
misdemeanor malicious mischief through attempted first-degree murder.
THE OVERALL RESULTS:
In 2003, the SRDVT received 2,857 total referrals from law enforcement in
comparison to 2,671 received in 2002. In 2003, 698 of the referrals were of a felony
nature as compared to 683 in 2002, ranging from assault in violation of no contact
orders through robbery and attempted murder.
In 2003, the SRDVT signed up 460 felony cases charging 650 felonies and 176
misdemeanor charges as compared with 2002 in which the SRDVT signed up 513 felony
cases charging 761 felonies and 152 misdemeanors.
In 2003, the SRDVT received 2,239 misdemeanor referrals as compared to 2,069
received in 2002. In 2003, the SRDVT filed 2,162 new cases charging 2,807 crimes as
compared to 1,914 new cases filed in 2002 resulting in 2,783 charges.
In 2003, the SRDVT/PT closed 368 felony cases representing 1,420 felony
charges as compared to 2002 in which 480 cases were closed representing 1,910
felonies. In 2003, the SRDVT closed 2,580 misdemeanor cases representing 4,654
misdemeanor charges as compared to 2002 in which 2,107 misdemeanor cases
representing 4,435 charges were closed.
There were 1,454 referrals received by the Property-Fraud Unit in 2003, and
1,062 felony cases were filed. The unit is staffed with eight Deputy Prosecuting
Attorneys, who closed 1,000 cases in 2003 (a total of 5,085 crimes charged), and took
35 cases to trial.
The unit worked closely with law enforcement through Crime Analysis, task
forces and targeted crime units, as well as working from our own internal multiple
referral defendant lists. Through these efforts, our backlog of property crime referrals
This unit works closely with the felony drug unit. Ten secretaries and a paralegal
support the two units. Property-Fraud is also assisted by the Victim-Witness Unit with
a part time advocate and a part time secretary.
The unit prosecuted 72 gun cases (theft of firearm, unlawful possession,
possession of unlawful firearm, first degree burglary/armed).
The unit began a diversion program for class C felonies during the year, which
promises to be very successful. There were 54 felony diversion cases filed between
Sept. 11 and Dec. 31, 2003.
In 2003, the Drug Unit consisted of thirteen attorneys. This Unit is responsible
for the prosecution of all felony drug cases, felony escape and bail jumping charges,
felony traffic offenses, probation violations, and all drug court cases. A meth lab task
force was formed. Two attorneys out of this Unit were assigned to deal exclusively
with meth lab cases, and 414 cases were filed. Other Units are handling cases involving
methamphetamine as well. Methamphetamine continues to dramatically impact our
The Drug/Traffic Unit received 1,585 referrals that resulted in 1,308 cases being
filed. Many of the drug cases consist of multiple counts and include property crimes.
The deputies maintain pending caseloads of approximately 75 cases at any given time.
The Unit disposed of 1,122 cases in 2003. The felony traffic unit received 106 felony
traffic referrals and filed on 88 of those. These cases included 21 Vehicular Assault
cases and 15 felony Hit and Run cases.
One attorney in the Drug Unit is assigned to Drug Court. Offenders have to meet
specific screening criteria in order to qualify for entry into the program and are
required to sign an agreement stipulating to the facts of the case. Successful
completion of the program results in the dismissal of the charges. Offenders who do
not complete or fail the program are prosecuted based on the stipulated facts. In 2003,
160 defendants were screened and found eligible for the program; 83 of those chose to
enter the program, and 21 successfully completed the program and graduated.
The Drug Unit also has an attorney and a paralegal assigned to handle a majority
of the probation violations. They handled 125 probation hearings, 901 probation
modifications orders were entered, and 835 terminations or discharges were entered,
totaling 2,740 files for the year. Legal financial obligations in the amount of $60,575.00
I. OFFENDER STATUS:
A. REFERRALS: The referrals for 2003 are 5157. This is up from 2002 referrals
of 5131, resulting in a difference of 26 more referrals or an increase of 1/2%. This
year’s referrals are 1611 referrals less than 1996’s referrals of 6768. The result is a
24% decrease of referrals over the last 8 years
B. CASES FILED: The cases filed for 2003 are 1577. This is up from 2002 cases filed
of 1516, resulting in a difference of 61 more cases filed or an increase of 4%.
C. TRIALS: The trials for 2003 are 55. This is down from 2002 of 59 trials, resulting in
a difference of 4 less trials or a decrease of 7 %. These calculate not only offender
matters but also include 13 truancy trials. One of the reasons for the decrease in trials
this year can be attributed to an increase in felony dispositions of 9%.
D. CASE BACKLOG: The case backlog average is currently at 145. The decrease
averaged 36 cases per month over last year. One of the reasons for the decrease in the
case backlog is that more cases were handled in VOMP and more diversion rejection
cases were filed on this year.
In addition, a decrease of 20 diversion cases was referred to diversion this year. As a
result, there were fewer cases that potentially may have been part of the backlog.
E. SEX CASES: There were 44 sex cases referred in 2003: 5 went to Sexually
Aggressive Youth Program (SAY); 1 was an automatic decline; 5 had insufficient facts; 2
were not filed and 31 were filed. Of the 31 filed sex cases: 22 were guilty pleas; 1 trial
conviction; 2 not guilty trials and 6 pending resolution. Of the 23 guilty pleas or
conviction: 12 went to SSODA; 5 went to JRA; 2 received local sanctions and 4 waiting
II. RESTORATIVE JUSTICE: The late great Jim Gillespie informed, educated and
convinced the agencies within the Juvenile Justice System regarding the benefits of
restorative justice. Restorative Justice actively involves victims, offenders and the
community in a cooperative resolution to conflict:
A. VICTIM OFFENDER MEDIATION PROGRAM (VOMP): The VOMP program is very
simple: the victim and offender agree to meet with a trained mediator in the hope of
mediating a settlement. If the parties agree to a settlement, sign a contract and
complete the conditions of the contract, no legal action will be taken on the charge. As
a result, the victim is made whole, the offender is held accountable and the community
is strengthened by this resolution. Inland Mediation Center is the agency, which trains,
assigns and monitors mediators for the VOMP program. Our office has benefited from
VOMP by assigning pre-adjudicated cases. This year, we have referred 207 cases to
them. This is an increase of 77% over last year. Of the cases returned to our office,
62% of the cases either completed condition of the contract or resolved the conflict
prior to the meeting. Furthermore, Juvenile Court is starting to use Victim Offender
Mediation as a condition in the disposition order
III. TRUANCY: This year, the prosecutor’s office decided to represent the school
districts in Spokane County in an effort to better effectuate the principles of students
attending school under the Becca Bill. As a result, school representatives only need to
appear in court when a case is contested. And the school districts are very pleased
with our service.
A. FACT FINDING: This is an order for students, who have at least 5 unexcused
absences within a month or 10 unexcused absences within the school year, to compel
them to attend school, every day, every period on time. In 2003, 1465 truancy petitions
were filed. This is an increase of 372 truancy petitions or 25% over last year. The
increase may have been due to streamlining the system to make it easier for the school
to file and the school districts receive payment for every petition filed. There were 597
truancy orders filed this year, resulting in an increase of 246 truancy orders or 59%
over last year. The reason for the increase in truancy petitions filed and in the truancy
orders is due to the fact that we changed the filing system beginning with the 2001-
2002 school year, the school districts, in most cases, were now required to filed a
“stay” truancy petition in which the school, parent and student would explore
intervention solutions to resolve the truancy problems. However, the school districts
can bypass the “stay” petition and filed a “court” petition. Finally, a total of 8 truancy
trials were heard.
B. CONTEMPT: This is an order for students who have violated the truancy order to
compel attendance. The sanctions against these students include detention time, fines,
community service and/or other conditions. Furthermore, the parents of the student
may be fined up to $25 for each unexcused absence. In 2003, 331 contempt actions
were filed. This is an increase of 19 contempt actions or 6% over last year. There
were 216 contempt orders entered, resulting in a decrease of 187 contempt orders or
46% over the last year. The reason for the decline in contempt filings and orders is
that in the beginning of the school year 2011-2001, we changed the length of time in
which the court has jurisdiction over the truant from the student turning 18 years old to
October 31st of the next school year. This is because funding is based only on the
amount of truancy petitions. So, cases in which jurisdiction only lasts until October 31st
of the next school year create fewer opportunities for contempt actions because those
cases are refilled as truancy petitions. Finally, a total of 5 contempt trials were heard.
OTHER RELATED PROGRAMS:
A. JUVENILE DRUG COURT: The concept of this program is to provide a “holistic
approach” to treating juveniles for alcohol/drug and other related problems. After many
meetings and conferences, Spokane County has decided to pattern Drug Court criteria
after the Chemical dependency disposition alternative. Although the treatment plan may
be different, the court procedure will be similar to Adult Drug Court. In 2003, there
were an additional 29 from the original 30 candidates who entered Drug Court last year.
From this group 9 successfully completed and 9 were revoked from the program.
B. MINORS IN PREVENTION: This is a scared-straight program for first-time
offenders of minor in possession, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. This
program has been expanded to include pre-disposition as well as pre-filing cases.
1. On December 4, 2003, Bob Jalovi presented at the Spokane Police and School
District 81 Liaison Committee meeting at the Spokane School District 81 Administration
Building in Spokane, Washington. My presentation was entitled: Truancy Process and
our partnership with the School District and Police.
2. In conjunction with the Prosecutor in Every School Program, Lynn Mounsey gave
3 presentations re: Juvenile Law on February 18, 2003, May 2 & 23, 2003 respectively
at Cataldo Catholic School.
3. In the spring of 2003, Lynn Mounsey gave a presentation on Criminal Justice at
Eastern Washington University.
4. On April 8, 2003, Lynn Mounsey gave a presentation on Juvenile Crimes,
Process, Restitution and Landlord Q&A at the Independent Insurance Agents’ Luncheon.
5. On July 30, 2003, Lynn Mounsey gave a presentation on Juvenile Crimes, Justice
Process and Restitution Goals at the Building Owners and Manager’s Association
In 2003 the seven-member district court unit handled 11,934 new misdemeanor
referrals, an 18% increase over 2002. [2,675 DWI cases (an 18% increase over the
2,258 DWI cases in 2001); 5,547 other criminal traffic cases (a 29% increase over last
year), and 3,712 criminal non-traffic cases.] Trial dockets burgeoned with Driving
While Under the Influence cases in our three-judge district court. A large percentage
of the cases tried were subject to direct appellate review.
The District Court attorneys also handled the probation violation dockets, the
mental health misdemeanor procedures under Title 71, as well as the DUI first
appearance dockets. The additional workload concomitant with these procedures was
accomplished without additional personnel. Indeed, due to budget cuts, we lost one
attorney that was previously assigned to the infraction dockets.
Felony and misdemeanor first appearances were handled daily by the District
Court unit - with the help of externs from Gonzaga Law School.
The Appellate Unit supervises all cases originating from the Spokane County
Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Appeals and in the Washington Supreme Court. The
appellate caseload is nearly all criminal in nature with felony appeals predominating. The
District Court Unit manages misdemeanor criminal appeals to Superior Court.
Administrative appeals are managed by the Civil Department. The Appellate Unit manages
criminal appeals from District Court that reach the Court of Appeals.
2003 saw a continuation of the previous year’s marked increase in appellate case
filings, with the average monthly totals in the fall seeing their highest levels in over four
years. The year ended with 217 open appeals files – the highest total since early 1999.
The average monthly caseload was 218 cases, a 19.7% increase over 2002. A total of 170
briefs were filed in appeals cases, the highest number ever recorded. Nine cases were
argued in the Washington Supreme Court in 2003, compared to only one the previous year.
Final briefing for the personal restraint petition in the Dwayne Woods death penalty case
was completed. A decision from the Washington Supreme Court is pending in that case.
Major Crimes, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Gang, Property and Juvenile
are the various units where advocates play an important role while assisting victims.
Advocates assist all victims and survivors of homicide from the time we receive the
police report (referral) to the final outcome of their case, this may be through a guilty
plea or trial. We will at the request of the victim speak on behalf of the family or read
their Victim Impact Statement in court.
We attend monthly Community Justice Meetings in the Juvenile Unit as well as
bringing speakers to Martin Hall (a juvenile facility). We have 2 mothers, one whose son
was murdered and one whose daughter was killed by an impaired driver. Our advocate
coordinating these Impact Panels is Lory Miller, Juvenile Advocate. A goal is to begin
talks with juveniles in detention as the feedback at Martin Hall was quite positive.
Shane Smith and Linda Carter talked with students at Lewis & Clark High School’s
Criminal Justice Studies. From that talk we acquired a student who volunteered in
Victim Witness through the Practicum in Community Involvement program.
Two advocates attended the Early Childhood Brain Development at Spokane Falls
Community College. Dr. Wil Bleckman was the dynamic speaker.
Other areas of involvement are the ongoing Kids Court, Homicide/Violent Crime
Support Group Meetings, quarterly newsletters, as well as taking care of our dedicated
Volunteers. We also attend various training to keep up to date on the newest
The Civil Division of the Prosecutor’s Office is comprised of nine (9) attorneys,
three (3) paralegals and a secretary. Responsibilities of the Civil Division are statutory
and include: Providing advice to all Spokane County Elected Officials and department
heads, representing Spokane County Elected Officials and employees in litigation under
the County Self Insured Retention as a member of the Washington Counties Risk Pool,
representing the Prosecuting Attorney in Civil Commitment hearings, and prosecuting
violations of Spokane County Ordinances. Document production and activities for 2003
were as follows:
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE* 19515
STANDARD DOCUMENTS 242
COURT PLEADINGS 1002
MISCELLANEOUS DOCUMENTS 656
COURT ACTIVITIES** 691
OTHER ACTIVITIES 14671
CIVIL COMMITMENTS 2476
* Includes Public Disclosure requests on behalf of Spokane County Elected Officials
and/or Department Heads
** Includes the Civil Department representation of clients before Spokane County
District/Municipal Court, Spokane County Superior Court, Washington State Court of
Appeals, Washington State Supreme Court, U.S. District Court, Eastern Washington
Growth Management Hearings Board, and administrative hearings bodies (hearing
examiner, Civil Service, etc.)
As the representative of the Division of Child Support in Spokane County, the
Family Law Division of the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney's Office continues to
represent the Division of Child Support in cases in Superior Court in Spokane County,
Lincoln County and Stevens County, and in the Federal Eastern District Bankruptcy
Court. Several Deputy Prosecutors have been appointed as Special Assistant Attorney
Generals to represent the Division of Child Support in counties outside of Spokane.
Spokane Family Law also houses the Parenting Enrichment Program, a grant funded
access and visitation program, which has been ongoing.
The most significant change in calendar 2003 from prior years is a significant
drop in the number of paternity referrals received from the Division of Child Support.
Approximately 25% fewer referrals were received in calendar 2003 than calendar 2002.
Partially accounting for the drop in paternity referrals is the success of the paternity
acknowledgment program undertaken by the Division of Child Support. While the
number of paternity referrals dropped, the complexity of those cases received, has
increased. Many of these cases involve significant interventions by other agencies such
as the Department of Children and Family Services, and Juvenile Court.
The number of contempt referrals was increased during calendar 2003 and
partially offset the reduction in paternity referrals. The number of dissolution/response
cases received by Spokane County Family Law stayed relatively level from 2003 to
2003, in the neighborhood of 400 cases.
The number of cases for which bankruptcy representation was provided
continued to increase, as did the amount of money collected through their efforts. For
2003, well over $500,000 was collected through the efforts of the Spokane Family Law
Challenges for the coming year will be to allocate the resources of Family Law to
meet the referrals provided by the Division of Child Support. Should paternity referrals
continue to decline, personnel will be re-allocated to handle other types of cases. The
Division of Child Support is facing significant financial challenges and is seeking new
ways to accomplish more with fewer funds. Prosecuting attorneys will be asked to
assist the Division of Child Support in meeting its goals. Spokane Family Law has
continued to provide excellent representation to the Division of Child Support and the
residents of Spokane County.