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Huckleberries Online

Thu., Dec. 1, 2011, 3:29 p.m.

Prosecutor Faces Nepotism Claims

Defense attorneys in Coeur d'Alene are raising questions of nepotism in the Kootenai County prosecutor’s office, saying that the hiring of a chief deputy prosecutor’s wife is an affront to state law. The office defends the decision, saying that the woman, former prosecutor Betsy Black, is the best qualified to handle the case she was hired for. Black led the investigation into the January 2009 death of 2-year-old Karina Janay Moore before going into private practice. “She had the best working knowledge of anybody in the office,” Prosecutor Barry McHugh says, defending Black’s hire. Moore’s foster parents were charged last month in the girl’s death. “It made sense to continue to have Betsy work on the case.” But Kootenai County Chief Public Defender John Adams says Black’s $100-per-hour compensation, along with the access to a computer and secretary offered by the prosecutor’s office, is excessive. Black is married to chief deputy prosecutor Barry Black/Chris Stein, Inlander. More here.

Question: Do you consider the contract hiring of Betsy Black nepotism or a wise decision because she's best qualified to handle the case?

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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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