Ben Carr, senior deputy prosecuting attorney for King County, made a recent Zoom presentation on “considerations for juvenile suspects.”
“Even for serious offenses the primary focus will be on rehabilitation,” Carr wrote, adding in parentheses, “get used to this concept.”
The prosecutor presented a scenario where “young Timmy brings a pistol to school, brandishes it during a confrontation and causes panic,” before debating whether a crime was committed, whether the juvenile court has jurisdiction in this case and what will happen to the kid “in Juvie.”
That slide in particular drew ire from officials in the Seattle suburb of Federal Way, which has seen at least six instances over the past year of guns confiscated at schools in its district.
According to the presentation, if a student enters juvenile court, the case will result in “most likely, no time in custody and no ultimate conviction.” Carr then presented on a “new concept of diversion,” after King County Council recently approved a “restorative community pathways” program for juveniles.
Juveniles or adults charged with a first-time “non-violent felony offense” may be offered an opportunity to skirt appearing before a judge and instead face a “non-profit community panel” to decide how they “can be held accountable for their crime.”
A copy of the presentation was obtained by The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
Carr’s office responded with a lengthy statement to Fox News denying that the prosecutor said law enforcement needed to “get used to” juvenile suspects to avoid punishment.
“That phrase was embedded in a slide designed to illustrate the statutory, legal requirement that Washington State juvenile courts prioritize the rehabilitation of youthful offenders,” a Carr spokesperson said. “以来 1977, Washington State Law and judicial holdings have repeatedly mandated that the juvenile justice system must ‘provide for the rehabilitation and reintegration of juvenile offenders.’ The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office agrees with this priority and approach for youthful offenders. Accountability for one’s actions, especially those of a child, can and should include the concept of rehabilitation.”
“Criticism has come from people who did not attend the presentation, and who did not hear firsthand what was said or the context of the conversation with law enforcement,” 发言人补充说.
“That we should ‘get used to it?’ It was shocking to me,” Dana Ralph, mayor of the Seattle suburb of Kent, told KTTH, explaining she was not on the Zoom but got wind of the presentation afterward.
Carr was forced to explain to his boss why the slideshow featured a popular meme of a dog sipping coffee in a burning building. “This is fine,” the dog says ironically, surrounded by flames.
After officials on the Zoom call complained, Carr sent a copy of the PowerPoint presentation to Jimmy Hung, the chief deputy prosecutor in the juvenile division. Carr explained the context of the meme but also asserted that, “不用说, future meetings will focus less on collegiality and more on data.”
Carr noted, “明显, ‘This is fine’ was used to make two points: 1) that significant system change is happening around us right now, 和 2) that a large portion of the changes are overdue, being done to address racial disproportionality and over-incarceration, and that we should take a moment — in all sincerity, not just ironically — to consider that these changes may actually be ‘fine.'”
The initial proposal for the restorative justice program was submitted by the groups Collective Justice, Creative Justice, CHOOSE 180 and Community Passageways. Carr said 40% of youth will be referred away from prosecution to the program, with a goal of increasing that amount the next few years.
KTTH said those groups that submitted the program proposal are run by liberal activists, many of whom have advocated for either abolishing or defunding the Seattle Police Department.
According to Carr’s presentation, juveniles accused of assault, 入室盗窃, criminal trespassing, felony harassment, obstructing a law enforcement officer or second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm can still be referred to the restorative justice program and avoid appearing before a judge.