Norm Maleng

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Norm Maleng
King County Prosecuting Attorney
In office
Preceded byChris Bayley
Succeeded byDan Satterberg
Personal details
Born(1938-09-17)September 17, 1938
Acme, Washington
DiedMay 24, 2007(2007-05-24) (aged 68)
Seattle, Washington
Political partyRepublican
Alma materUniversity of Washington
University of Washington School of Law

Norman Kim Maleng (September 17, 1938 – May 24, 2007) served as the King County, Washington, Prosecutor for 28 years.[1] He was also an architect of Washington's Sentencing Reform Act.[1]


Maleng was born in Acme, Washington, and grew up on a dairy farm. Known as "Kim" during his youth and to those close to him throughout his life, he graduated from the University of Washington in 1960, then served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He obtained his law degree in 1966 from the University of Washington Law School, serving as editor-in-chief of the Washington Law Review and graduating at the top of his class. He worked in private practice in Seattle, and then as chief of the Civil Division of the Prosecutor's Office. In 1978, he was elected as Prosecutor, and was re-elected seven times.[1][2]

In 1982, Maleng supervised the wrongful conviction of a Seattle man, Steve Titus, on a rape charge. Titus was convicted despite testimony that he was not even in the area at the time the crime was committed. A newspaper reporter, Paul Henderson, was able to investigate and prove that police misconduct and fabrication of evidence led to the conviction. The conviction was thrown out and Titus sued, but he died shortly afterward. Subsequently, the actual rapist was arrested and convicted for a series of rapes he committed over several years in the Seattle area. Paul Henderson ultimately won a 1982 Pulitzer Prize for his work.

Maleng was involved in a number of high-profile cases, most notably the 1983 Wah Mee Massacre, the 2006 Seattle Jewish Federation shooting committed by Naveed Afzal Haq, and the serial murders of Gary Ridgway, known as the Green River Killer. He was the prosecutor of King County during the investigation of Jerramy Stevens for rape, and was responsible for deciding not to file charges.[3]

He ran for the Republican nomination for Governor of Washington in 1988 and 1996. In 1992, he lost an election for Attorney General to Christine Gregoire.[4]

Maleng is credited with bringing several large scale policy reforms to Washington State's Criminal Justice system including passage of the 1984 Sentencing Reform Act, tougher penalties for car thefts in 2007 and rethinking the prosecution of low level drug offenses by placing emphasis on treatment options after a first or second offense, rather than lengthy prison sentences.

Legislative accomplishments[edit]

  • In the 1980s, Maleng supported reform of Washington State's sentencing system, turning it from an indeterminate parole system to a determinate scheme based upon the seriousness level of the current offense and a defendant's criminal history.
  • In the 1990s, Maleng led the effort to crack down on drug offenders with longer sentences to fight the crime wave associated to violent drug dealing. Maleng later led an effort to reduce some of the longer drug sentences in lieu of treatment options for first and second time drug offenders. Maleng won support for his proposal to dedicate the money saved from the long incarcerations to long term treatment.
  • In 2005 Maleng targeted chronic car thieves with his Car Theft Initiative (CTI). He dedicated deputy prosecutors to pursuing the most prolific car thieves in King County. Working with police agencies, the Prosecutor's Office targeted the "Top 20" car thieves in King County. After gaining convictions on all 20, the group pursued the next "Top 20". Maleng also went to Olympia and convinced the Legislature to increase the penalties for car thefts. These increased penalties combined with the concentrated efforts of police and prosecutors caused a dramatic drop in reported car thefts in King County from over 17,000 in 2005 to under 8,000 in 2008. Washington State has since dropped from 6th in the Nation in auto thefts to 26th in 2008.

Notable deputy prosecutors[edit]

Attorneys who worked for Maleng as deputy prosecuting attorneys include Marsha J. Pechman, Robert S. Lasnik and Ricardo S. Martinez, all judges of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, and Dan Satterberg, the current Prosecutor.

Death and honors[edit]

Maleng died of cardiac arrest during an event at the University of Washington on May 24, 2007.[1]

In December 2007, the King County Regional Justice Center in Kent, was renamed in his honor.[5]

Later in June 2008 Harborview Medical Center opened Norm Maleng Building on its campus.[6]


Predator: Rape, Madness, and Injustice in Seattle, ISBN 0-385-29935-4, Jack Olsen, 1991


  1. ^ a b c d Sullivan, Jennifer; Steve Miletich (25 May 2007). "Longtime prosecutor Norm Maleng dies". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  2. ^ "Biography of Norm Maleng". King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Archived from the original on 15 June 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  3. ^ Armstrong, Ken; Nick Perry (28 January 2008). "Convicted of assault and accused of rape, star player received raft of second chances". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  4. ^ Gutierrez, Scott; Tracy Johnson; Levi Pulkkinen (25 May 2007). "Norm Maleng dead at 68". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  5. ^ Sims, Ron (1 December 2007). "Leaders gather to dedicate Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center". Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  6. ^ "Harborview celebrates opening of Maleng Building". UW Today. June 26, 2008. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Chris Bayley
King County Prosecuting Attorney
Succeeded by
Dan Satterberg