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King County Drug Court seeks to ensure community safety and empower participants to rebuild their lives by combining the resources of the criminal justice system, substance use treatment and other community service providers.

Program Description

The King County Drug Diversion Court (KCDDC) Program was started in August 1994, by the late Norm Maleng and then King County Superior Court Judge Ricardo Martinez. (Currently a U.S. District Court judge).  At the time of its founding, KCDDC was the twelfth drug court in the country.  Currently, there are drug courts in every state and approximately 3,500 nationwide. 

The KCDDC provides eligible defendants charged with felony drug and property crimes, the opportunity for substance use disorder and mental health treatment and access to other ancillary services such as housing, transportation and job skills training.  Eligible defendants can elect to participate in the program or proceed with traditional court processing.  After choosing to participate in the program, participants come under the court's supervision and are required to attend treatment sessions, undergo random urinalysis, and appear before the DDC judge on a regular basis.

KCDDC is a minimum 10-month program and requires participants meet specific milestones to impart the tools and stability needed to prevent a return to substance use and criminal activity. If participants meet the requirements of each of the five phases of the KCDDC program, they graduate from the program and their charges are dismissed. If participants fail to make progress, they are terminated from the program and sentenced on their original charge. 

Successful completion of the KCDDC results in dismissal of felony(s). Since the program’s inception through 2022, there have been 2,817 graduates, representing more than 3,571 dismissed felonies.

KCDDC helps participants make lasting positive changes in their lives with 81% having no new felonies at 36-month follow-up, per Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) analysis. (That is not just graduates but all participants.)


Contact Us:

KC Adult Drug Diversion Court
516 3rd Avenue, Room E-917
Seattle, WA 98104



KCTV Video:
The 5 Phases of Drug Court


For Family Members/
Significant Others


KCDDC Program Brochure