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Document Code No.: PHL-7-1-3-EO
Department/Issuing Agency: County Executive Office
Effective Date: December 4, 2019
Approved: /s/ Dow Constantine
Type of Action: Supersedes PHL 7-1-2 (AEO) "Conducting Inquests in King County" October 3, 2018

Signed document  (PDF,601 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.

Dated this 4 day of December, 2019.

/s/ Dow Constantine
King County Executive


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