Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

ArrestThis news, courtesy of the King County Prosecutor's Office, shows that bipartisan legislation combating domestic violence works:

Legislative Reform Leads to DV Felony Conviction

Strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence.  It is terrifying to victims, and they often struggle for their lives.  But under the previous version of the statute, prosecutors could often only file gross misdemeanor charges when strangulation occurred.

In 2007, Attorney General Rob McKenna worked with prosecutors and lawmakers throughout the state to change the law and include assault by strangulation as a means of violating the Second Degree Assault statute, a class B felony and a "strike" offense.

In a recent case, defendant Edward Martinez was convicted of Second Degree Assault, Witness Tampering, and Violation of a Court Order for attacking and strangling his ex-wife in front of one of their young children.  The defendant strangled his ex-wife to the point that she could not breathe.  When their daughter tried to intervene on her mother's behalf, the defendant assaulted her as well.

Before the change in the law, this defendant would have faced only a gross misdemeanor charge for strangling the victim.  Thanks to the Attorney General, the prosecutor's association and the State Legislature, this offender now faces felony sanctions.  The PAO will seek an exceptional sentence when the defendant is sentenced later this month.  Senior DPA Zach Wagnild handled the prosecution of this case.

We're grateful that King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg's office again stepped up to improve protections for domestic violence by advocating new legislation that passed during the 210 legislative session. Our Domestic Violence Advisory Committee continues to watch this issue, looking for opportunities to better protect victims. We'll keep you posted.

-Dan Sytman-