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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: 2010 election

District judges’ schedules hard to track

An effort to prevent political use of information about their daily duties seems to have backfired on Spokane County District Court judges.

Instead, they handed critics an opportunity to accuse them of being secretive. “What do they have to hide?” asked attorney Timothy Note, who is running against Judge Debra Hayes in the Nov. 2 general election. 

Note has raised questions during his campaign about how many days district judges actually work.

The judges decided at their Oct. 6 weekly meeting to quit distributing daily lineup sheets that indicate which judges are presiding over which dockets.

Read the rest of the story here.

Stevens says he voted for Frank Malone

Dave Stevens, a Republican who lost his bid this summer for Spokane County prosecutor to incumbent Republican Steve Tucker and Democrat Frank Malone, said Wednesday that he cast his vote for Malone in the November election.

Jon Brunt has the full story at the Spin Control blog.

Past coverage:

Feb. 18: Stevens releases letter to Tucker

Tim Note vs. District Court Judge Hayes

A young attorney who has big ideas on how to make court more efficient is taking on a one-term judge who said her life experiences have made her better at making tough decisions.

Defense attorney Timothy Note (left), 35, is challenging Spokane County District Court Judge Debra Hayes (right) in the Spokane area’s only contested judicial race on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

Hayes, 54, cited her four years of experience on the job, life experiences and community service. “I think that looking at the two of us, it is a pretty clear choice,” Hayes said. “I’m committed to being a fair and impartial judge.”

But Note, an attorney since 2004, said he has more than 100 fellow lawyers endorsing his campaign to bring more structure and accountability to District Court.

“My platform is not endearing me to the judges who are working there,” Note said. “But at some point, the gravy train needs to end and we need to get back to the people’s work.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse’s story here.

Candidate wants WSP to probe shooting

The Democratic challenger for Spokane County prosecutor on Monday called for the Washington State Patrol to take over the investigation into the fatal shooting of a Spokane Valley pastor.

Spokane lawyer Frank Malone said he had not contacted the WSP, but noted they were already involved in the investigation of the Aug. 25 shooting by Deputy Brian Hirzel as part of a protocol that is designed to avoid having a department investigate itself. “

This investigation is already compromised,” Malone said. “The deputy being allowed to go on vacation was ill-advised and created an unnecessary appearance of coziness with the legal system. The deputy is as interested in a credible investigation as anybody else. He doesn’t want this cloud hanging over him, either.”

Read Tom Clouse’s full story here.

Donations to prosecutor’s charity probed

What do David Miller, John C. Cooney, Dallas Cooney; Christian Phelps, Ronnie Rae, Frank Cikutovich, Paul Mack, Frank Bartoletta, John Clark, Rob Cossey, Tony Hazel, Jared Cordts and Larry Steinmetz have in common, other than law degrees?

All apparently donated to a Guatemalan orphanage supported by Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen.

Two Stevens County judges have asked the state bar association to investigate, saying they are concerned about Rasmussen’s practice of encouraging defense attorneys to contribute to the fund.

They submitted a copy of a February 2009 telephone message from Miller that says: “He had a good month. Does your charity need anything?” Miller said this week that he was “really offended” by the complaint.

Read John Craig’s story here.

Chris Bugbee: I’ll retire as prosecutor

When defense attorney Chris Bugbee (right) addressed a room full of Republicans in June, he told them that he not only intends to defeat incumbent Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker (left), Bugbee said he intends to retire from the office. 

The bold prediction not only illustrates Bugbee’s quick emergence as a front-runner but how contentious the primary contest has become. 

The five-way race also features Republican David Stevens (right), Democrat Frank Malone (bottom right), unaffiliated candidate Jim Reierson (bottom left) and Tucker, a Republican, who has repeatedly said that his opponents don’t understand what it takes to manage 140 employees and points to his experience as the reason he is the best choice.

All of the candidates are experienced lawyers.

 “I am the only one with law enforcement experience. I have more management experience than all the others and more time in the prosecutor’s office,” Tucker said. “It gives me a better base to make decisions.”

 But Bugbee, who up until 2002 worked under Tucker, deadpanned: “What good is experience if you are not actually doing the job?”

 Bugbee, 43, has raised twice as much money as his closest rival – Tucker – and has racked up the most influential law enforcement endorsements, landing the Spokane Police Guild, the Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and the Fraternal Order of Police, which is made up of retired law enforcement.

Read the rest of Thomas Clouses’s story here.

Read more about the candidates here.

Knezovich’s ‘support’ falls in gray area

A testament to the popularity of Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich may be the level to which candidates for Spokane County prosecutor are seeking his support.

The situation came to a head last week when incumbent Steve Tucker announced during a debate that he had the support of Knezovich (pictured).

Asked to clarify that support, Tucker made it clear that the sheriff has not endorsed his candidacy.

But Tucker’s opponents – fellow Republicans Chris Bugbee and Dave Stevens, Democrat Frank Malone and unaffiliated candidate Jim Reierson – all said they believe the average voter may not know the difference between support and an official endorsement.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse’s story here.

GOP group endorses both Bugbee, Tucker

The Republicans of Spokane County endorsed both incumbent Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker and challenger Chris Bugbee after an election forum this week.

That left out Republican challenger Dave Stevens, who earlier earned the endorsement of the Spokane County Republican Party.

Democrat Frank Malone and self-proclaimed “Law and Order” candidate Jim Reierson were not invited to the Monday forum sponsored by Republicans of Spokane County, which endorses candidates separate from the main party.

Tucker said he also received the endorsement of the Spokane Regional Labor Council, which includes several large unions.

Bugbee earlier received the endorsement of the Spokane Police Guild.

Separately, Tucker was elected Wednesday as the secretary of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. He said he’ll become president of that organization in two years if he is re-elected.

GOP prosecutor forum set for tonight

A forum for three of the five candidates seeking the Spokane County prosecutor’s spot is set for tonight..

The forum, sponsored by the Republicans of Spokane County, will be moderated by Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who has not endorsed a candidate. It starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Quality Inn Valley Suites, 8923 E. Mission Ave., in Millwood, and will include incumbent Steve Tucker, Chris Bugbee and Dave Stevens, who all list themselves as Republicans.

Not invited are Democratic candidate Frank Malone and “Law and Order” candidate Jim Reierson, who works as a deputy prosecutor in Kootenai County.

Read a story on the debate here.

Elton to get court-ordered mental evaluation

The mental state of a Spokane County commission candidate is in question.

 A week before filing for office Friday, civic gadfly David H. Elton was ordered by Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno to undergo mental evaluations to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial on harassment charges related to threatening e-mails sent last year to Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan and to Betsy Cowles, chairwoman of the Cowles Co., which owns The Spokesman-Review.

Elton’s trial, previously set to begin June 28, is on hold pending his mandatory mental health evaluation, Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy said.

Read the rest of my story here.

Previous coverage:

April 15: Elton avoids jail after violating court orders

April 3: Elton’s wife donated to Stevens’ campaign

Jan. 21: Trial set for Elton on threat charges

Feb. 12, 2009: ‘Murder’ email meant as joke, suspect says

SPD Guild endorses Bugbee for prosecutor

The Spokane Police Guild has endorsed Chris Bugbee for Spokane County prosecutor. Guild President Ernie Wuthrich told Bugbee of the endorsement in a letter sent to his campaign headquarters.

“Through your many years of service to the Spokane community you have developed a reputation as someone who is willing to fight regardless of the consequences,” Wuthrich wrote. “Many of our members have worked with you in a professional capacity and believe you to be fair and trustworthy and the best candidate to serve in this very important position.”

Here’s how the union described the candidates:

  • Bugbee, a former Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor now criminal defense attorney in both Washington and Idaho, has handled all crimes as a prosecuting and defense attorney.
  • David Stevens has only handled property, drug crimes and misdemeanors.
  • Republican Incumbent Steve Tucker- historically has settled crimes at all levels and his tenure likely appears to be over based on an absence of support from law enforcement and his own party.
  • Democratic candidate Frank Malone has spent the overwhelming majority of his career handling misdemeanor level crimes.

N. Idaho prosecutor joins Spokane Co. race

A Kootenai County deputy prosecutor joined the race for Spokane County’s top prosecutor today.

Jim Reierson, who lives in Spokane, said he prefers “The Law and Order Party,” Jim Camden reports at Spin Control.

Reierson, 59, ran for the job four years ago as a Democrat, and ran twice for Spokane County District judge, which is a nonpartisan position.

He wrote letters to the editor in April and in February blasting Prosecutor Steve Tucker. Check them out here.

Reierson joins David Stevens, Chris Bugbee and Frank Malone as Tucker’s challengers.

Former sheriff Sterk mulls run for sheriff

Former Spokane County Sheriff Mark Sterk may give his successor, Ozzie Knezovich, a run for his money. 

It’s a daunting prospect, Sterk acknowledges, because state Public Disclosure Commission records show Knezovich already has raised $38,778 and spent $17,959.

“That’s one of the things we will look at very carefully, as to whether we can win it or not,” Sterk said Wednesday after registering his potential candidacy with the state Public Disclosure Commission.

Also Wednesday, Knezovich announced he will kick off his re-election campaign with a $35-a-plate breakfast at the Red Lion River Inn today at 7:30 a.m.

Read the rest of John Craig’s story here.

Bugbee to run for Spokane Co. prosecutor

Steve Tucker has a new challenger in the race for Spokane County prosecutor.

Chris Bugbee, a 42-year-old Republican who worked six years as a deputy prosecutor, has announced his bid to unseat his former boss.

He joins fellow Republican David Stevens and Democrat Frank Malone in what is now a four-way race for the position.

“I think the office needs a real leader,” Bugbee said in reference to his former boss. “I don’t think Mr. Stevens is an appropriate candidate. I think he has demonstrated some questionable judgment. I fear that if he is going to be making those decisions as elected prosecutor, the consequences to the public will be even bigger.”

Read the rest of Thomas Clouse’s story here.

Past coverage:

Stevens releases letter to Tucker

Spokane prosecutor fires election opponent

Democrat joins prosecutor race

Deputy prosecutor vying for boss’s job put on paid leave

Stevens will challenge Tucker for Spokane County prosecutor

Elton’s wife donated to Stevens’ campaign

A candidate for Spokane County prosecutor has accepted a $500 campaign contribution from the wife of a man being prosecuted by the office he wants to oversee.

Records show that Republican prosecuting attorney candidate Dave Stevens accepted the donation in February and has kept the money despite knowing that the contributor’s husband, David Elton (left), faces three counts of felony harassment.

David Elton wrote in an e-mail in February that he would “donate as much as he could afford” to Stevens’ campaign. Documents from the state Public Disclosure Commission show that Elton’s wife, Belinda Elton, contributed $500 in February.

Read the rest of Jonathan Brunt’s story here.

Elton, 44, is accused of making threats in e-mail messages to his ex-wife, Robin Stewart, Cowles Co. Chairwoman Betsy Cowles and Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan. Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy is seeking a bench warrant for Elton, alleging he’s failed to notify Nagy on several occasions that he’s leaving town 48 hours in advance as required by a court order.

Judge Maryann Moreno is set to hear that motion on April 15.

Mark Vovos withdrew as Elton’s lawyer late last month. Elton has said he may represent himself.

Past coverage:

Trial set for Elton on threat charges

‘Murder’ email meant as joke, suspect says

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