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King County drops 1,500 misdemeanors due to staff shortage

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SEATTLE (AP) — King County prosecutors have announced that they will not file charges in 1,500 misdemeanor cases from 2017 due to a staffing shortage.

Prosecutors will focus resources instead on prosecuting more serious violations, like driving under the influence and misdemeanor assault.

Prosecutors say that more than half of the dropped cases involved minor shoplifting, bus fare evasion and trespassing. None of the defendants whose cases were referred back to law-enforcement agencies faced any jail time.

In 2010, The Seattle Times reported that Prosecutor Dan Satterberg estimated 220 deputy prosecutors would remain after a second round of layoffs, 40 fewer than when Satterberg took office three years prior. It was not immediately known how many prosecutors are currently employed by King County.

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