Washington County Attorney’s Office—2017 Annual Report 6 Criminal Division “We fight every day to keep the community safe and be a strong voice for justice.” The Criminal Division of the Washington County Attorney’s Office consists of the Division Chief and nine (9) assistant county attorneys responsible for the prosecution of all felonies committed in the county, as well as misdemeanors committed in those municipalities without municipal attorneys. The division commits an attorney to handle all appeals in which the office is involved, whether civil or criminal cases. The division also consists of four (4) Victim/Witness Advocates whose duties include acting as victim liaisons throughout criminal and juvenile cases. They also marshal witnesses for trial for the prosecuting attorneys handling the cases. They play an invaluable role in the efficient functioning of the criminal justice system in Washington County. This office has long implemented an aggressive methodology to insure a timely decision-making process on requests for charges, such that a decision to charge, to decline a case, or to refer a case for further investigation result in these decisions being handled in an expedited manner. This was implemented in 2011. Since then the average time between when a case file entering the office and a decision on charging/declining/referring has steadily become quicker. By the end of 2017 the average time for these decisions to be made were six (6) days from their submission. Our constituencies are being very efficiently served with such timely charging decisions. In turn, timely charging decisions better insure viable long-term criminal prosecutions. In all, the public and, particularly, victims of crime are much better served as a result of this expeditious turnaround of cases. Since 2015 there has been a precipitous increase in felony referrals (up 21%), misdemeanor citations handled (up 63%) and felony complaints issued by the office (up 34%). Additionally, diversion cases increased 107% from 2015. All of these increases have greatly affected each individual prosecutor’s caseload greatly, not to mention the work increase of our victim witness coordinators and legal assistants. We operate under a vertical system of prosecution. This means that the prosecutor that charges the case will handle the case all the way through trial. This insures is a consistency of handling that case throughout. Criminal Division Chief Fred Fink