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Early plea process

Learn more about how early plea negotiations work with the Prosecuting Attorney's Office (PAO).

The Early Plea Unit (EPU) stage is where the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (PAO) negotiates its cases. This “pre-trial track” is when we look at other options including:

  • Reductions
  • Alternative programs (such as Drug Diversion Court and Regional Mental Health Court)
  • Mitigation information
  • Equitable considerations

After the pre-trial track, a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney (DPA) may decide to reduce or dismiss charges. Evidence must be strong to prove the charge. A supervisor must approve reduced charge.

Moving to trial

EPU negotiations, outstanding plea offers, or recommendation offers end once your case enters the next phase, the "trial track." This also includes if it's sent to trial supervisor or DPA.

A case moving to the "trial track" includes:

  1. At arraignment, cases are set for a Pre-Trial Omnibus hearing at 1 p.m. (Monday through Thursday) 4 weeks (28 days) before the trial date. A case can continue in the “pre-trial track” by setting a new trial date with a Pre-Trial Omnibus hearing at 1 p.m. (Monday through Thursday) 6 weeks (42 days) before the new trial date.
    • All cases with Omnibus hearings set on Monday through Thursday at 1 p.m. are presumed to be “pre-trial” and are presumed to be eligible for EPU negotiations.
  2. A case moves to the "trial track" with a set Omnibus Hearing at 8:30 a.m. on a Friday (or equal am calendar if the Court is closed on that week’s Friday). At that point, the case transfers to a trial supervisor or trial DPA.
    • Additionally, regardless of whether the case is set for a “pre-trial” or “trial track” Omnibus, a EPU DPA may decide to end negotiations and transfer the case to a trial supervisor or trial DPA.

When a case is moved to the “trial track,” or the EPU DPA terminates negotiations, it then goes to a trial supervisor or trial deputy. The supervisor of the trial DPA may provide a written exception via email to extend any EPU offers.

Discovery

We try to provide all discovery for the defense that is available at the time of filing or that becomes available thereafter. We are unable to provide redacted discovery with our limited early plea staff. If the defendant requests a copy of redacted discovery, the early plea negotiator stops negotiations. A trial deputy receives the case to continue.

Contacts

We are committed to the success of our early plea process.

Defense attorneys with comments, questions, concerns, or suggestions about any aspect of our early plea practice should contact the unit chair or the Assistant Chiefs of the Criminal Division. Defense counsel may call the PAO Front Desk at 206-477-1200 to ask which unit is handling a case. The discovery cover sheet sent to defense counsel will also indicate which unit is handling a case. 

Seattle Trial Supervisors

Felony Traffic Unit

Amy Freedheim

Email: amy.freedheim@kingcounty.gov

Domestic Violence Unit

Patrick Lavin

Email: patrick.lavin@kingcounty.gov

SAU

Emily Petersen

Email: emily.petersen@kingcounty.gov

VCU

Jeffrey Dernbach

Email: jeffrey.dernbach@kingcounty.gov

ECU

Susan Harrison

Email: susan.harrison@kingcounty.gov

MRJC Trial Supervisors

Felony Traffic Unit

Amy Freedheim

Email: amy.freedheim@kingcounty.gov

Domestic Violence Unit

Angie Kaake

Email: angela.kaake@kingcounty.gov

SAU

Celia Lee

Email: celia.lee@kingcounty.gov

VCU

Dan Soukup

Email: dan.soukup@kingcounty.gov

Seattle Early Plea Negotiation

Domestic Violence Unit

Negotiator

Stephanie Brennan (206-477-1827) or stephanie.brennan@kingcounty.gov

Hours

Thursday 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. and by appointment

Other Information

Will negotiate by email.

Negotiations will continue throughout the pendency of a case. However, if the defense requests discovery beyond what is normally expected during the early plea negotiation period (such as victim/witness interviews, redacted discovery, records that are not in the possession of the State, lab testing, etc.), then the case must be assigned to a trial deputy and any outstanding early plea offer is withdrawn.

Economic Crimes Unit

Forgery, ID Theft, Theft 1 and 2, PSP 1 and 2, Trafficking 1 and 3, UIBC, FTR/Theft of Rental Prop., Money Laundering, Gambling, Insurance Fraud, Mortgage Fraud, Voter Fraud, Cheating, Complex Financial Crimes, Residential Burglary, Burglary 2, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Theft of a Motor Vehicle

Car Theft/Burglary Offenses

Negotiators
  • A-L Xandy Evans (206-263-0385) or email aevans@kingcounty.gov
  • M-Z Bryce Mc Phee (206-263-3510) or email bmcphee@kingcounty.gov
  • ECU cases (non car-theft/burglary) Philip Sanchez (206-477-1850 or email philip.sanchez@kiingcounty.gov
Hours

Email preferred. Otherwise by appointment.

Other Information

Will negotiate by email.

Negotiations will continue throughout the pendency of the case, but the defense should expect that the State’s best offer will be made at the early plea stage. If the defense requests discovery beyond what is normally expected during the early plea negotiation period (such as request to arrange victim/witness interviews or motion for such interviews, redacted discovery, records that are not in the possession of the State, lab testing, etc.), then the case must be assigned to a trial deputy and any outstanding early plea offer is withdrawn.

Early plea offers will not be kept open for an extended period of time. Further, the State reserves the right to revoke an early plea offer in other circumstances, such as new information or evidence, the defendant’s commission of new crimes, a failure to appear, violations of conditions of release, any evidence of inappropriate communication/contact with victims or witnesses, etc. The State will strive to provide predictability and notice to the defense of any revocation.

Many cases in ECU are pre-assigned to DPAs. Early plea negotiations for such cases should be conducted with the assigned trial DPA.

Elder Abuse

Negotiators

Kathy Van Olst, 206-477-1892 or kathy.vanolst@kingcounty.gov

Page Ulrey, 206-263-3318 or pulrey@kingcounty.gov

Hours

By appointment

Other Information

Deadline for offer will be specified when offer is extended. Offer will be withdrawn when case is set for trial or victim interview is conducted unless otherwise specified.

The State reserves the right to revoke an early plea offer in other circumstances (such as a new crime is committed, new charges are filed, additional criminal history is discovered, the defendant fails to appear for court etc.), although it strives to provide predictability and notice to the defense of any revocation.

Felony Traffic

(Veh. Hom., Veh. Assault, Felony Hit and Run with a death)

Negotiator

Amy Freedheim, 206-477-1921 or amy.freedheim@kingcounty.gov

Seattle Felony DUI

Negotiator

Adam Eucker, 206-263-8476 or adam.eucker@kingcounty.gov

MRJC Felony DUI

Negotiator
Kyle Houston, 206-219-5294 or kyle.houston@kingcouty.gov
Hours

By appointment only via email, phone, or video call

Other Information

Will negotiate by email and via Teams/phone by appointment.  Plea forms must be turned in prior to the plea hearing.

See general Violent Crimes Unit early plea negotiation practices noted above.

High Priority Repeat Offenders Unit

Formed in 2017, the High Priority Repeat Offenders Unit (HIPRO) is a unit dedicated to reducing crime rates by focusing on the most prolific burglars and car thieves in our community. The HIPRO unit is the combination of the former Car Theft and Repeat Burglar Initiatives and uses many of the sa.m.e approaches to reducing crime rates, including “stacking” cases and working to ensure that offenders stay in custody pending trial. The HIPRO unit also works to build relationships with police agencies to encourage thorough burglary and car theft investigations and more prompt filing of cases and raises community awareness of burglary and car theft prevention.

Hours

Monday 9 to 11 a.m. unless in trial and by appointment

Negotiators

Evan Boeshans 206-477-4981 or eboeshans@kingcounty.gov

Susan Harrison 206-477-1966 or susan.Harrison@kingcounty.gov

Violent Crimes Unit

Assault 1 and 2, Robbery, Kidnapping, Unlawful Imprisonment, Burglary 1, Arson/Reckless Burning, Drive By Shooting, Attempted Murder, Felony Traffic  

Negotiators
  • A-G (all 3rd strike & AA Cases) Brynn Jacobson (206-477-1912) or email Brynn.Jacobson@kingcounty.gov
  • H-P Ian Michels-Sletvet (206-263-3504) or email imichelsslettvet@kingcounty.gov
  • Q-Z Hannah Godwin (206-263-9610) or email hgoodwin@kingcounty.gov

In the event neither negotiator is available, defense may contact Bridgette Maryman at (206-477-1193) or bridgette.maryman@kingcounty.gov.

Hours:

EPU negotiations occur over email or via phone, with email negotiations preferred. Afternoons are preferred for telephonic negotiations.

Other Information:

Prefers to negotiate by email.

Negotiations will continue throughout the pendency of the case, but the defense should expect that the State best offer will be made at the early plea stage. If the defense requests discovery beyond what is normally expected during the early plea negotiation period (such as victim/witness interviews, redacted discovery, records that are not in the possession of the State, lab testing, etc.), then the case must be assigned to a trial deputy and any outstanding early plea offer is withdrawn.

Early plea offers will not be kept open for an extended period of time. Further, the State reserves the right to revoke an early plea offer in other circumstances, such as new information or evidence, the defendant’s commission of new crimes, a failure to appear, violations of conditions of release, any evidence of inappropriate communication/contact with victims or witnesses, etc.

Animal Cruelty, Assault 3, Attempt to Elude, Bail Jumping, Custodial Assault, Escape, Felony Harassment, Intimidating or Tampering with a Witness or Public Servant, Introducing Contraband, Malicious Mischief, Stalking, Threats to Bomb, Unlawful Imprisonment, UPFA, and VUCSA

Negotiators
  • A-L Kaylee Dickerboom  206-477-6816) or email kdickerboom@kingcounty.gov
  • L-Z Amani Samad (206-477-7975) or email asamad@kingcounty.gov

Hours: All negotiations by email 

Phone appointments only when scheduled in advance.

Other information: 

Will negotiate by email.

Negotiations will continue throughout the pendency of the case, but the defense should expect that the State’s best offer will be made at the early plea stage. If the defense requests discovery beyond what is normally expected during the early plea negotiation period (such as request to arrange victim/witness interviews or motion for such interviews, redacted discovery, records that are not in the possession of the State, lab testing, etc.), then the case must be assigned to a trial deputy and any outstanding early plea offer is withdrawn.

Early plea offers will not be kept open for an extended period of time. Further, the State reserves the right to revoke an early plea offer in other circumstances, such as new information or evidence, the defendant’s commission of new crimes, a failure to appear, violations of conditions of release, any evidence of inappropriate communication/contact with victims or witnesses, etc. The State will strive to provide predictability and notice to the defense of any revocation.

Homicides

Negotiator: Contact the assigned trial deputy.

Identity Theft

Negotiator: Margo Martin (206-263-1377) or Margo.Martin@kingcounty.gov

Hours: Email preferred. Otherwise by appointment.

Other information:

Email negotiations are permitted, but in person negotiations are preferred and more effective. For the MRJC, email negotiations are preferred, as negotiator is only at the MRJC on Wednesdays.

Deadline for offer will be specified when offer is made. Offers always expire if defendant sets the matter for trial.

The State reserves the right to revoke an early plea offer in other circumstances (such as a new crime is committed, new charge are filed, additional criminal history is discovered, the defendant fails to appear for court etc.), although it strives to provide predictability and notice to the defense of any revocation.

Insurance Fraud and Organized Retail Theft

Insurance Fraud:

Negotiator: Kyle Houston 206-477-0024 or kyle.houston@kingcounty.gov

Organized Retail Theft: Negotiator: Nichole Lawson (206-263-3435) or email nlawson@kingcounty.gov

Hours: Email preferred. Otherwise by appointment.

Other Information:

Deadline for offer will be specified when offer is made. Offers always expire if defendant sets the matter for trial.

The State reserves the right to revoke an early plea offer in other circumstances (such as a new crime is committed, new charge are filed, additional criminal history is discovered, the defendant fails to appear for court etc.), although it strives to provide predictability and notice to the defense of any revocation.

Mortgage Fraud

Negotiator:

Hugo Torres (206-477-1894) or Hugo.Torres@kingcounty.gov

Hours: Email preferred. Otherwise by appointment.

Other Information:

Negotiations are to take place only upon defense fully reviewing discovery. The assigned prosecutor will be available to identify the critical documents and witness statements. Deadline for offer will be specified when offer is made. Plea offers made early in process will always expire if the defendant sets matter for trial.

The State reserves the right to revoke an early plea offer in other circumstances (such as a new crime is committed, new charge are filed, additional criminal history is discovered, the defendant fails to appear for court etc.), although it strives to provide predictability and notice to the defense of any revocation.

Special Assault Unit

Negotiators:

Emily Petersen (206-477-1854) or email: emily.petersen@kingcounty.gov

Hours:

Office Hours Tuesday 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and by appointment.

Other Information:

Will negotiate by email.

Negotiations will continue throughout the pendency of a case. However, if defense requests discovery above what is expected during the early plea negotiation period (e.g. victim/witness interviews, CPS/counseling records that are not in our possession, lab testing that we would not do unless case goes to trial, etc.), the case will be assigned to a trial deputy, and any outstanding early plea offer is withdrawn.

MRJC Early Plea Negotiation Process and Hours

Domestic Violence Unit

Negotiator:

Chris Bell, 206-477-1856 or christopher.bell@kingcounty.gov

Hours:

Mondays: 9 to 11 a.m.

Thursdays: 9 to 11 a.m.

Other Information:

Will negotiate via email.

Negotiations will continue throughout the pendency of a case. However, the case will be transferred to a trial DPA if significant additional investigation is necessary, redacted discovery is requested, or witness interviews are requested. Any Early Plea Unit offer expires when the case is transferred to a trial DPA. Felony Traffic Unit

(Veh. Hom., Veh. Assault, Felony Hit and Run with a death, Felony DUI):

Negotiator: Amy Freedheim (206-477-1921) or amy.freedheim@kingcounty.gov

Hours: By appointment only; at the MRJC on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Other Information:

Will negotiate by email. In person negotiations encouraged for initial discussions of any case. Plea forms must be turned in prior to the plea hearing.

See general Violent Crimes Unit early plea negotiation practices noted above.

High Priority Repeat Offenders Unit

Formed in 2017, the High Priority Repeat Offenders Unit (HIPRO) is a unit dedicated to reducing crime rates by focusing on the most prolific burglars and car thieves in our community. The HIPRO unit is the combination of the former Car Theft and Repeat Burglar Initiatives and uses many of the sa.m.e approaches to reducing crime rates, including “stacking” cases and working to ensure that offenders stay in custody pending trial. The HIPRO unit also works to build relationships with police agencies to encourage thorough burglary and car theft investigations and more prompt filing of cases, and raises community awareness of burglary and car theft prevention.

Hours:

Negotiate by phone and email.

Negotiators:

Bryce McPhee 206-263-3510 or bmcphee@kingcounty.gov

Marissa Neff 206-477-2267 or maneff@kingcounty.gov

Identity Theft

Negotiators:

Task Force Cases: Margo Martin (206-263-1377) or Margo.Martin@kingcounty.gov

Others: A-H is Casey Dowdy – cdowdy@kingcounty.gov or 206-477-9137

I-R: Tuyen Lam. – tuyen.lam@kingcounty.gov or 206-477-3151

S-Z: Alice Degen – alice.degen@kingcounty.gov or 206-477-6521

Hours: Email Preferred. Otherwise by appointment.

Other information:

Deadline for offer will be specified when offer is made. Offers always expire if defendant sets the matter for trial.

The State reserves the right to revoke an early plea offer in other circumstances (such as a new crime is committed, new charge are filed, additional criminal history is discovered, the defendant fails to appear for court etc.), although it strives to provide predictability and notice to the defense of any revocation.

Insurance Fraud and Organized Retail Theft

Insurance Fraud:

Negotiator: Kyle Houston (206-477-0024) or Kyle.Houston@kingcounty.gov

Organized Retail Theft:

Negotiator: Nicole Lawson (206-263-3435) or email: nlawson@kingcounty.gov

Hours: Email preferred. Otherwise by appointment.

Other Information:

Deadline for offer will be specified when offer is made. Offers always expire if defendant sets the matter for trial.

The State reserves the right to revoke an early plea offer in other circumstances (such as a new crime is committed, new charge are filed, additional criminal history is discovered, the defendant fails to appear for court etc.), although it strives to provide predictability and notice to the defense of any revocation.

Special Assault Unit

Negotiators:

For 2020 cause numbers and older cases:

A-Z Celia Lee 206-477-2452 or Celia.Lee@kingcounty.gov

For 2021 cause numbers:

A-I Celia Lee 206-477-2452 or Celia.Lee@kingcounty.gov

J-Z Chuck Sergis 206-477-1199 or Charles.Sergis@kingcounty.gov

Hours:

Please email negotiator for appointment times.

Other Information:

Will negotiate by email.

Negotiations will continue throughout the pendency of a case. However, if defense requests discovery above what is expected during the early plea negotiations period (e.g. victim/witness interviews, CPS/counseling records that are not in our possession, lab testing that we would not do unless case goes to trial, etc) then the case will be assigned to a trial deputy, and any outstanding early plea offer is withdrawn.

Violent and Economic Crimes Unit

Mainstream Non-Violent Crimes Negotiators:

  • A-H: Casey Dowdy – cdowdy@kingcounty.gov or 206-477-9137
  • I-R: Tuyen Lam – tuyen.lam.@kingcounty.gov or 206-477-3151
  • S-Z (and all Marijuana Grow cases): Alice Degen – Alice.Degen@kingcounty.gov or 206-477-6521

Mainstream Violent Crimes Negotiators:

Jennifer Phillips – Jennifer.Phillips@kingcounty.gov or 206-477-1934

Stephen Herschkowitz – Stephen.Herschkowitz@kingcounty.gov or 206-477-1182

Hours:

By email, by phone, and by appointment.

Other Information:

Case transfers to a trial deputy upon request for interviews, OR, upon request for redacted discovery OR after case is set for trial.

Generally, investigation by the defense, including witness interviews, does not revoke an early plea offer, with the exception of the following: witness is a confidential informant, or a sensitive victim/witness is involved. The State reserves the right to revoke an early plea offer in other circumstances (such as a new crime is committed, additional criminal history is discovered, failures to appear, or violations of CCAP, etc.), although it strives to provide predictability and notice to the defense of any revocation.

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