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Sentence Review process

Learn more about who is eligible to apply for sentence review or early release and how to apply.

The review process

We perform a preliminary review of our cases to determine if they are priority or non-priority case. If it fits in our priority categories, we move to a more thorough review of the case.

Our Sentence Review Unit (SRU) looks over requests for sentence review. We accept these by email or mail.

  • Check if your case fits under priority

    These categories are consistent with ongoing local and national criminal justice reform efforts. Categories are subject to change and are one of the factors we use to decide whether to review a case further.

    Priority cases

    Current case categories for priority include

    • “Three Strikes” cases where the last strike is a King County conviction resulting in a life sentence
    • Non-homicide cases with sentences of 15 years or more where there are no serious injuries
    • Non-homicide cases with sentences of 20 years or more where there are injuries that were deemed minor
    • Non-homicide cases involving a petitioner who was under the age of 25 at the time the crime was committed
    • Cases involving victims of human trafficking
    • Cases involving domestic violence abuse with a justified Battered Women Syndrome claim or other abuse
    • Cases where the individual is over 70 years of age
    • Cases where immigration consequences are triggered
    • Cases where the individual is terminally ill or has a diagnosed illness resulting in limited cognitive ability

    Non-priority cases

    Case categories not currently considered include

    • Aggravated murder cases
    • Petitions where there are one or more deceased victims
    • Petitions involving sex crimes, including those involving juvenile victims
    • Petitioners with a long history of serious violent behavior
    • Petitions involving domestic violence
    • Petitioners whose release date is 3 years or less away
    • Petitioners who have served less than 10 years of their sentence
  • Apply for a review

    If your case falls under priority case category for review, download and fill out our intake form.

    SRU Intake Form (361KB)

    If you cannot fill out the form, a request can be sent in the form of a cover letter that includes

    • Petitioner’s full legal name
    • Date of birth
    • Cause number
    • Nature of the request  
  • Send your completed request

    By email to or print it out and mail to

    King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
    Sentence Review Unit
    516 3rd Avenue, W400
    Seattle, WA 98104

  • Review timing

    The initial process of reviewing and responding to requests may take up to several months, depending on the Sentence Review Unit's caseload and capacity to review new requests.

    Petitioners do not need an attorney to request a review. However, if your conviction is identified as a conviction of interest, we will ask the Seattle Clemency Project or another partner organization to reach out to you. If you are interested, they can guide you through exploring sentence review options and finding pro bono counsel.

    Cases declined review

    We may find that further review is not in the interest of justice after the preliminary review. We will send a decline-to-review notice to the petitioner’s address. If they do not have legal representation, we send the notice to their current Department of Corrections location. Upon request, the decline notice may be shared with law enforcement, victims, or surviving victim family members.

    Cases chosen for review

    The SRU selects cases that meet the necessary requirements. Only after selecting the case does the unit takes an in-depth look. We look for reasons why filing a joint sentence review petition with the King County Court is in the interest of justice.

    Factors we consider when selecting cases for review include whether the

    • Sentence in question is based on a King County conviction.
    • Case falls within the priority category of cases.
    • Details suggest review is necessary and consistent with current principles of justice.
    • Review of the case follows the prosecutor duty section of the Revised Code of Washington.