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Posts tagged: Barry McHugh

McHugh To Take CoiNuts Case Lead

Some of you commenters were critical of the Coeur d'Alene Police Department for not moving on case against CoiNuts owner Kevin E. Mitchell. CPD spokeswoman Sgt. Christie Wood provided the Coeur d'Alene Press with an extensive time line that shows the police investigated several complaints against CoiNuts but there was no follow-up prosecution. Now, it appears Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh will take the lead on the case, saying it's too complex for one deputy. Quoth McHugh: “The reality is I'm going to be taking the lead on (the case). There certainly are a number of people who said they've lost money, and I believe that to be the case.” Many former CoiNuts customers told The Press that Mitchell allegedly failed to deliver on purchased gold and silver, and that Mitchell often paid for the metals with bad checks. Story here.

Question: After reading the Coeur d'Alene Police Department time line, do you now think the police gave proper attention to this case? How about the prosecutor?

McHugh: He Thought He Was Truthful

No charges will be filed against a petitioner who was surreptitiously recorded making inaccurate statements while attempting to collect a signature on a petition to put a referendum to recall four Coeur d’Alene elected officials before voters. The recording, made April 29 on Tubbs Hill, was published on and can be heard by following this link: Recording captures recall petitioner’s pitch Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh sent a letter to Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department Det. Jerry Northrup last week advising there is insufficient evidence that the petitioner, Rodney Bitterman, knew his statements regarding the petition to recall Mayor Sandi Bloem and City Council members Deanna Goodlander, Mike Kennedy and Woody McEvers were false. McHugh wrote in the letter that Bitterman understands he made false statements, but says he didn't know they were false/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


McHugh Investigates Recall Complaint

The Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office said Monday it will investigate the complaint filed last week by recall opponents, Stop The Recall. Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said the office will look into the complaint largely based on the volume of allegations in it. “I’ll likely ask someone to do some investigative work,” he said. “There are a number of assertions in it.” That’s not to say the allegations have merit, or charges will be forthcoming, he said. Stop The Recall, the group that is opposing the recall effort led by RecallCdA, turned the complaint into the city last week. The city forwarded the complaint Monday to the county for further evaluation. The complaint states that recall supporters aiming to unseat four city incumbents have used incorrect information while seeking signatures, which would be a felony offense according to Idaho Code/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: How do you think this investigation (which could conclude today) will play out?

CdA Asks McHugh To Withdraw Suit

The Coeur d'Alene City Attorney's office has asked Prosecutor Barry McHugh (pictured) to withdraw the lawsuit filed against the city on behalf of County Clerk Cliff Hayes to clarify the deadline in the attempted recall of Mayor Sandi Bloem and three City Council members. Deputy City Attorney Warren Wilson told McHugh in a three-page letter that the Secretary of State's office had backed Coeur d'Alene's position (that recallers had 75 days to complete their signature gathering including about 15 days for the county clerk to verify the signatures). “Unfortunately, Mr. Hayes has not followed the instructions from the Secretary of State's office. Instead a suit has been field against the City of Coeur d'Alene and four of its elected officials challenging the interpretation contained in Mr. Hurst's instructions. Mr. Hayes continues to disregard this instruction as a 'city opinion' and continues to insert himself into a process that, by statute, is to be administered by the City Clerk.” Letter and related information here. And here.

Question: Who do you trust more to give a proper opinion re: city recall rules — County Clerk Cliff Hayes or the Secretary of State's office?

Hayes Sues To Clarify Recall Date

Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes has filed suit against the city of Coeur d'Alene and individuals involved on both sides of the recall attempt in an effort to clarify the recall deadline, now set for June 19. Hayes, through his counsel, Prosecutor Barry McHugh, wants to clarify whether the recall process, including signature verification ends on June 19. Or whether that is the date to complete signature gathering, with verification coming afterward. Named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit besides the city of Coeur d'Alene are Mayor Sandi Bloem and the three recall targets, Councilman Deanna Goodlander, Woody McEvers and Mike Kennedy, as well as Recall CdA and recall organizer Frank Orzell. link to lawsuit here.


Donald Gary Seeks Prosecutor Spot

Holding office was never on Donald Gary's radar before he filed candidacy for Kootenai County prosecuting attorney, he admitted. But the Post Falls attorney considers his campaign a civic duty, he said, on account of the issues he believes must be redressed at the prosecutor's office. “I have children, we all have children, and I believe somebody needs to do something,” said Gary, 56, a principal and board member at Winston and Cashatt, Lawyers. Gary, an attorney for 20 years, said topping his list after election would be reducing prosecutorial misconduct. He alluded to the initial sentencing of Jonathan Ellington, which was thrown out over misconduct involving improper questioning by a county prosecutor/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Who is this guy?

McHugh Won’t Review Mack Vote Issue

Item: McHugh's office won't review Mack vote case/Maureen Dowd, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: It's unclear yet if charges will be filed in the case of an allegedly forged Kootenai County Republican Central Committee proxy ballot, but it is likely the local prosecutor's office won't be making that call. Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh told The Press the matter would probably be sent out of the county to another office to review for possible prosecution. “I would anticipate that because I participated in the vote,” McHugh said.An evaluation independent of his office would be more fair, he said. The proxy ballot in question was cast on Feb. 28 when the county's committee of elected Republican precinctmen voted to retract the committee's invitation to Richard Mack to be the keynote speaker at the party's Lincoln Day Dinner on March 24. The vote in favor of rescinding the invitation was 31-30, and McHugh cast one of the winning votes.

How They Voted: Here's an unofficial list of how the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee voted on the Richard Mack issue.

Question: Should a county prosecutor who voted as a precinct committeeman in this matter be expected to investigate it?

DOTC Appreciates McHugh’s Emotion

Dan Of The Community: I attended and it was a very informative and civil event. I happened to sit right behind Barry’s parents and next to the wife of Don Gary, no negative vibes or tension in the air. I think everyone, and likely Barry too, was caught off guard a little at his evident emotions that briefly welled up when talking about his feelings about the position. I took it as a sincere display of his commitment and see it as a sign of a whole and mature person. For someone who has to make the kind of decisions that a prosecutor must make including life and death sentencing options to the correct balance of charging discretion, I frankly think that is a good and healthy attribute to hang on to.

Question: Do you appreciate it when a political figure like Barry McHugh shows emotion?

Prosecutor McHugh, Gary Square Off

Panhandle Pachyderm President Luke Sommer (left), Prosecutor Barry McHugh (center), and GOPrimary challenger Don Gary, Spokane tax lawyer, at noon luncheon today at Templin's Red Lion in Post Falls

Donald Gary, an attorney with little to know criminal law background, came out swinging today in his debate with incumbent Prosecutor Barry McHugh (pictured) at a Republican candidates' debate at the weekly Panhandle Pachyderm Club meeting in Post Falls. Gary said: “A prosecutor is a minister of justice.” Also, according to an embedded HucksOnline reporter, he said he considered the Jonathan Ellington (road rage) case as “scary stuff,” and he isn't interested in going back to “the days of Roy Bean.” Gary freely admitted that McHugh has significantly more criminal experience, adding that he graduated magna cum laude and has significant tax experience. The tax code, he said, is more sophisticated than the criminal code and he feels he can master it. McHugh, meanwhile, has tried everything from parking tickets to capital murder. Also, Gary said he would have supported a new election in the 2009 Kennedy-Brannon vote challenge. In closing, McHugh said he is passionate about his community and his employees.  He grew slightly emotional, and it was well received.

Question: Would you support a prosecutor candidate with little or no criminal experience?

Commissioners Propose Govt Change

Kootenai County commissioners have asked Prosecutor Barry McHugh to draft a ballot measure that would dramatically restructure county government. The measure, which will be on the November ballot, will call for a commission-manager form of government with four current elected offices to be transformed into appointed ones — assessor, clerk, treasurer and coroner. The offices of prosecutor and sheriff would continue to be elective. If the measure passes, the three commissioners will hire an manager whose duties would include hiring & firing and preparing a preliminary budget for review and entering contracts. In a news release, the commissioners noted that they all three ran for office, pledging to present a possible change in county government to voters. Full press release here. (Photo: Commissioner Dan Green)

Question: Do you support a change in Kootenai County government?

Barry Keeps An Eye On Voting

Barry McHugh, the Kootenai County prosecutor (left), watches as caucus workers count ballots at New Life Church. McHugh was one of the Republican functionaries assigned to run one of the 10 GOP caucus sites throughout Kootenai County.

McHugh: Johnson Ineligible For Sheriff

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh says sheriff hopeful Adam Johnson's probation status on a felony charge makes him ineligible to file a declaration of candidacy. McHugh sent the opinion Wednesday to Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes. Here's a copy of the opinion/Coeur d'Alene Press Online.


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?

McHugh To Seek Re-Election

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh greeted former County Clerk Dan English after announcing this afternoon that he would seek re-election to his county office.

McHugh said his campaign “will focus on his accomplishments from his first term in the office, as well as his plans for the future.  In particular, McHugh focused on four areas in which he has and will remain committed to providing leadership: 1) A dedication to the safety of the citizens of Kootenai County, 2) Increasing accessibility for the public, 3) Increasing efficiencies in operations, and 4) Creating and environment of trust.” More here.

Question: How many votes will Prosecutor Barry McHugh lose by being seen in the presence of a known Democrat?

Prosecutor Denies Spencer’s Appeal

The Kootenai County prosecutor has determined a Spirit Lake resident can't appeal a property assessment on land he doesn't own, after analyzing Idaho statues and seeking other counties' advice. “It was definitely worth taking the time, because it's a question that needed to be answered, for the board (of commissioners) and for the public,” said Barry McHugh, county prosecuting attorney, who said he hasn't seen this situation come up before. Larry Spencer, a Spirit Lake developer and vocal community activist, applied to appeal an assessment on Silverwood Theme Park property this month in front of the Board of Equalization. He believes the park was wrongly granted a timber exemption on developed acreage, he said/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Prosecutor Barry McHugh's stand?

Mary: Jump, Barry, Jump

In her weakly newsletter, Mary Souza castigates Prosecutor Barry McHugh for not jumping when state Rep. Kathy Sims told him to as well as her favorite pincushion, Councilman Mike Kennedy. Mary's in a huff because McHugh hasn't deemed it important so far to waste is valuable time chasing Sims' claims that Mayor Sandi Bloem and almost all of the City Council have conflicts of interest in dealing with McEuen Field issues. After all, fumes Mary, the Idaho AG's office has responded twice to the Honda car dealer's demands for an investigation. Kennedy disgusts Mary today because he maintains that it's illegal for Coeur d'Alene to conduct a public vote on McEuen Field, a claim seconded by respected local attorney Scott Reed. Hucks Online will provide a link when Mary posts her latest rant at

McHugh: Teachers Union Did No Wrong

  • Originally posted 10:29 a.m. Saturday

Item: Prosecutor: No campaign crime was committed/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The Kootenai County prosecutor has found no evidence that the local teachers union in Coeur d'Alene committed any crimes by offering financial campaign assistance to school board candidates. Prosecutor Barry McHugh sent a letter Friday to Jeff Ward, president of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans activist group. In the letter, McHugh advised Ward that the Coeur d'Alene Education Association, which is the teachers union, had not violated Idaho statutes. McHugh's letter was in response to a complaint filed earlier this week by Ward.

Question: Do you agree with Prosecutor McHugh's finding that the Coeur d'Alene Education Association committed no crime in donating to school board candidates?

Gookin: Prosecutor Ignores Corruption

In one of the more entertaining threads on the Coeur d’Alene Press online Web site, Dan Gookin now is claiming that there’s corruption in the Kootenai County prosecutor’s office. The accusation comes from out of thin air, as much of the thread involves a three-way tag team among Dan, his sidekick Mary Souza, and a relative new commenter, Bumblebee. They’re involved in a three-way melee re: the Brannon-Kennedy case (of course) and Mary’s performance as a city planning commissioner when Gookin proclaims that his ability to root out corruption in the community is thwarted by a prosecutor who won’t uphold the law. Then, Gookin comments: “Perhaps that $100,000 art grant that the City gave his wife has some roll in that, I wouldn’t know. But because of the way Idaho is structured, if a County Prosecutor is unwilling to uphold the law, the citizens can go pound sand. Idaho is broken that way, and as such it has become one of the most corrupt states in the Union.” Then, he says he hopes that the feds will some day “swoop in here and clean up the mess. I can only wait.” Complete thread here.

Question: Does anyone out there really believe the claim made by the forces of Gookin that local government is rife with corruption, especially after the Brannon verdict?

McHugh Wants 3rd Hate Crime Trial

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said today that he will re-try two Coeur d’Alene brothers on malicious harassment charges. Frank J. Tankovich, 46, and William M. Tankovich, 49, will be tried on charges of conspiracy to commit malicious harassment and malicious harassment related to an incident that occurred last August. The brothers were accused of making racially motivated threats toward Kenneth Requena, who is Puerto Rican. The brothers were tried earlier this month in Coeur d’Alene, along with a third brother, Ira G. Tankovich, 48, in the first hate-crime case to go to trial in North Idaho in recent years. A Coeur d’Alene jury deadlocked on the counts of malicious harassment and conspiracy to commit malicious harassment against Frank and William Tankovich, while convicting Ira Tankovich of the lesser charge of conpiracy to disturb the peace/Spokesman-Review. More here.

Question: Why do you think Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh is pursuing this case?

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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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