Skip to main content

Conducting Inquests in King County

Conducting Inquests in King County

Document Code No.: PHL-7-1-4-EO
Department/Issuing Agency: County Executive Office
Effective Date: June 11, 2020
Approved: /s/ Dow Constantine
Type of Action: Supersedes PHL 7-1-3-EO "Conducting Inquests in King County" December 4, 2019

Signed document  (PDF, 885 KB)

WHEREAS, Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Chapter 36.24 authorizes the county coroner to summon a jury to inquire into the death of a person by suspicious circumstances; and


WHEREAS, Section 895 of the King County Charter, as amended, provides that an inquest shall be held to find facts and review the circumstances of any death involving a member of the law enforcement agency of the county in the performance of the member's duties; and


WHEREAS, King County Code (KCC) Chapter 2.35A created a division of the medical examiner within the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health and assigned to it most of  the coroner's duties under RCW Chapter  36.24, "except  for  the  holding of  inquests, which function is vested in the County Executive" under KCC 2.35A.090.B; and


WHEREAS, the County Executive, in exercising the authority to hold inquests, has discretion to determine how inquest proceedings are to be conducted, and to delegate the duty of presiding over an inquest to another impartial public official; and


WHEREAS, the County Executive retains the ultimate responsibility for the exercise of the inquest power and the performance of the delegated duty.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Dow Constantine, King County Executive, do hereby order, direct, and implement the following policy and procedures for conducting an inquest, at Appendices 1 and 2.


     Signed this 11th day of June 2020 at Seattle, Washington


/s/ Dow Constantine
King County Executive


/s/ Norm Alberg
Director, King County Records and Licensing Division, Department of Executive Services