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Posts tagged: Barry Black

Defenders Angry At $100/Hr Contract

Defense attorneys are rankled by the Kootenai County Prosecutor's Office contracting the chief deputy prosecutor's wife to work on a case. But their worries are more about pay rate than nepotism. Some contend that the prosecutor's office is providing attorney Betsy Black, a former county prosecutor and wife of Chief Deputy Prosecutor Barry Black, significantly higher compensation than what county-contracted defense attorneys receive. “The disparity of what they're willing to pay someone to come back and work on a particular case to prosecute, versus what they're paying the rest of us for our defense is outrageous,” said defense attorney Michael Palmer/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR file photo: Karina Moore is featured in a YouTube video on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010. She was two years old when she died from injuries she sustained while in foster care in Post Falls in January 2009)

Question: Do the defense attorney have a legitimate gripe re: the $100-per-hour contract? Or is Betsy Black's background in this sensitive case worth the extra money?

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 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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