Class C crimes redirected to cities
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Mark Nichols, chief deputy Clallam County prosecuting attorney, said the county office has referred for prosecution as an associated misdemeanor at least eight different types of Class C felonies to city attorney’s offices over the past few years because the county office does not have the staff to handle them.
Such felonies also include possession of controlled substances, such as heroin and methamphetamine.
In these instances, often called felony diversions, the county prosecuting attorney’s office declines to prosecute low-level felonies and refers them back to the city where they originated, where the city can prosecute them as misdemeanors or send them back to the county.
“These are examples of crimes that if declined by the County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for felony prosecution would go unprosecuted (at least for the time being) unless the referring agency’s legal department (e.g. city attorney’s office) opted to prosecute the offender under a gross misdemeanor and/or misdemeanor,” Nichols said in an email.
Port Angeles officials have decided the City Attorney’s Office no longer can handle such felony diversions and will send such referred cases back to the county.
Nichols estimated that the county prosecutor’s office declined to prosecute and referred to the county’s three cities about 94 Class C felony drug crimes between January 2012 and September 2013.
From January 2012 to August 2013, Nichols said, the county Prosecuting Attorney’s Office declined roughly 48 Class C property crimes.
Class C felony property crimes commonly referred by the county office include, according to a list compiled by Nichols:
■ Second-degree theft (more than $750 and less than $5,000).
■ Second-degree theft with intent to sell.
■ Second-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission.
■ Unlawful issuance of checks or drafts.
■ First-degree vehicle prowl (motor home or sailboat).
■ Second-degree malicious mischief (property damage worth more than $750).
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: October 08. 2013 5:52PM