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Impressions: Judge John Mitchell

I’m not going to go into detail now re: the hour I spent with reporter Taryn Brodwater interviewing Judge John Mitchell. But I am going to give you first impressions. Mitchell was deliberative, candid, prepared, honest, answered every question, and admitted he tried not to look at this blog. Regarding his many DQs, he pointed out that most (47) came from Brad Chapman, an attorney in the public defender’s office who has automatically DQ’d him every time since 2005 when attorneys were allowed to do so again without cause in the state of Idaho. He wouldn’t go on the record to conjecture why Chapman has done so. Mebbe that’s a question his boss, John Adams, should answer. Also, Deputy Prosecutors Jim Reierson and Marty Rapp are tied for second place with 25 DQs apiece, and our paper published a letter to the editor from Reierson in support of Rami Amaro. Reierson, I believe, lives in Spokane with a cat or two, ran unsuccessfully of a Spokane judgeship, and didn’t like it once when I said he was “unavoidable for comment.” So, you know how much stock I put in his letter to the editor. Mitchell said no attorney has told him why s/he DQ’d him. But he’s been told by contacts in the public defender’s office that he puts too many conditions on the terms of probation and by the prosecutor’s office that he’s “too rehabilitative.” As far as being overturned on appeal, Mitchell said he’s 3rd of the 4 other 1st District Court judges in this area, and not far behind the top 2. Bottom line: Mitchell has the demeanor and thoughtfulness of a judge. And the charges against him by some commenters here that he’s some sort of monster are even more absurd when you meet him.

Next up, Rami Amaro at 2 p.m. Monday.

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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