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7 assault charges reduced in plea deal

A man who fired several gunshots into a house, narrowly missing two toddlers, after a 2009 dispute over a dog accepted a plea bargain Monday that called for 60 days in jail, which he’s already served.

Lucas J. Merrill, 28, had faced seven counts of first-degree assault in a case that previously had been negotiated down to two misdemeanors by Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker. However, a District Court judge in November refused to approve the deal after Tucker declined a request to appear in court and explain the reduction in the severity of the charges against Merrill.

Instead, Merrill pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of third-degree assault, said his defense attorney, Tom Krzyminski. Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza sentenced Merrill to 60 days in jail and gave him credit for 60 days. Third-degree assault is the lowest felony level of that offense.

“I think it’s disappointing that he was not placed in Veterans Court. But it seemed there were too many roadblocks for that,” Krzyminski said.

In November, District Court Judge Debra Hayes questioned whether the plea agreement would put a federal grant that helps pay for Veterans Court in danger if she agreed to reduce the seven felonies to two misdemeanors. “This is about as close to a murder case as I’ve seen as a felony reduction,” Hayes said during a hearing on Nov. 14.

The charges stemmed from an incident in the fall of 2009 when Merrill and his roommate, Brock Woodson, believed that the neighboring Gertlar family had either poisoned or injured their dog. Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Garvin said in court that Merrill got very drunk and shot at the Gertlars’ home, which had seven people inside.

According to court records, bullets just missed two toddlers who were sleeping in the front room. The Gertlars, who indicated they weren’t happy with the previous plea bargain, did not attend the Monday sentencing, Krzyminski said.

Originally from Colville, Merrill served eight years in the military including two tours in Iraq. He has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder and has suffered traumatic brain injury, Krzyminski said at an earlier hearing.

The case file included a letter submitted by Karen Gertlar who said the shooting “has affected our lifestyle and ability to live a safe and normal life. By someone’s careless act, we are constantly in fear and all of us have re-occurring nightmares,” Gertlar wrote.

Judge: Steve Tucker recall won’t proceed

A recall petition against Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Tucker was dismissed this afternoon by a visiting Superior Court judge.

 Judge Craig Matheson of Benton and Franklin counties said that four recall charges drafted by Shannon Sullivan were insufficient and that one of the four lacked a basis of knowledge.

“I’m very relieved,” Tucker said after the hearing.

Read the rest of the story here.

Court rules against Shannon Sullivan…

Good morning, Netizens…

 

Yesterday Shannon Sullivan's efforts to recall Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Tucker landed on the legal rocks, unfortunately. Judge Craig Matheson, of Benton and Franklin counties, said four recall charges drafted by Shannon Sullivan were insufficient and that one of the four lacked a basis of knowledge, and thus Sullivan's attempt to recall Tucker were rejected by the court.

 

It takes a special kind of courage to stand tall before the courts and take a public stand on contentious public issues, but Shannon Sullivan does not seem to be lacking in that brand of spirit, based upon her previous recall effort against the late Spokane Mayor Jim West in 2005.

 

Judge Matheson stated that his decision can be reviewed by the State Supreme court if they chose to do so, although it remains to be seen whether Shannon Sullivan will pursue this further.

 

According to KXLY-News, after the ruling, Sullivan stated, “Is it the end? I'm not certain,”

 

It also remains to be seen whether Steve Tucker will be able to acquire enough votes from various luminaries at The Globe Bar and Grill in downtown Spokane to get re-elected, since, based upon my limited experience, that establishment appears to be one of Tucker's favorite places to hold forth his opinions, legal and otherwise.

 

It is time, in my opinion, for the public to move on past Steve Tucker, to hire a prosecuting attorney with the temerity and boldness to stand up for the public they serve.

 

Dave

Tucker disputes recall effort’s claims

Prosecutor Steve Tucker said Tuesday that he sees nothing in a petition to recall him except “rumors and hearsay, and ‘facts’ that are not true.”

 The petition for a recall election was organized by Shannon Sullivan, who led the successful recall drive against Spokane Mayor Jim West in 2005.

Read the rest of John Craig's story here.

Past coverage:

Dec. 1: Recall effort targets Prosecutor Steve Tucker

Shannon Sullivan files complaint against Tucker…

Good morning, Netizens…

 

It is my lasting impression that Shannon Sullivan has more chutzpah than any of our elected officials in Spokane County, especially but not limited to County Prosecutor Steve Tucker. I remember the hue and cry that arose when she took on our former Mayor, the late Jim West and how she brought West down. Now Sullivan has set her sights on Tucker, and rightfully so. Tucker needs to go, for the various reasons stated in Shannon Sullivan's complaint, a copy of which can be read here: http://www.kxly.com/download/2011/1201/29900422.pdf

 

Detractors to Sullivan's plan has used the comment she must has missed the limelight. I find that and other negative comments regarding Sullivan's recall plan to be farcical, of limited imagination and an outright insult to her good character.

 

What I find particularly ugly is that, once Shannon Sullivan announced her intentions, Steve Tucker has all but disappeared from most of his favorite haunts, such as The Globe downtown and various golf courses. His office? He only goes there when re-election looms, or someone in what passes for high places in Spokane desires his company. He even ignores judges sitting on the bench, because he is purportedly not under their control.

 

It is time for Steve Tucker to be recalled. The stench that wafts out of his office is particularly bad, and he needs to find a new job, hopefully somewhere other than our local government.

 

Dave

Steve Tucker mum on Otto Zehm case

Ten days after a jury convicted Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. in federal court, Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker has given no indication that he will move forward in state court with an investigation into Thompson or other officers involved in the 2006 confrontation with Otto Zehm.

Tucker avoided questions for more than a week. His only response to multiple calls and office visits was an email on Friday asking about the “specific case” reporters were inquiring about. He then didn’t respond by 5 p.m. Friday to a list of emailed questions.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Steve Tucker makes public appearance

“I'm 4,” says Aidan Cameron to Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick at the YWCA Thursday. Kirkpatrick, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and County Prosecutor Steve Tucker read to children at the YWCA to support continued federal and state funding for early childhood programs.

Education experts describe children as sponges of learning, soaking up language and information from those around them.

 “They, like adults, learn languages best in an environment where learning enhances their self-esteem and reinforces their sense of who they are and who they are becoming,” according to the International Children's Education.

A revelation Thursday by largely inaccessible Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker could serve as Exhibit A in that theory.

Tucker, who joined Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich to support early childhood learning programs at the YMCA, shared a humorous vignette about his 3-year-old grandson's impressive vocabulary, including the toddler's unprompted uttering of this all-too-familiar phrase: “I am not availabe to answer that question at this time.”

Bomb suspect arrest surpised Tucker

OLYMPIA — News that the FBI was making an arrest in the MLK Day bomb plot came as a surprise here yesterday — not just to legislators who have been ensconced in the capital for two months but to Spokane County's top law official.

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker was in Olympia for “Law and Justice Day”, a day set aside for the state's prosecuting attorneys to lobby their legislators. He was enroute from one Spokane-area senator's office to another's Wednesday morning about the time FBI agents (and some media) were closing in on Kevin Harpham's home near Addy.

Bumping into Tucker on the sidewalk, I decided to see if I could pick up a tidbit of news to feed back to Spokane. So, I asked,  the FBI is picking up someone in MLK parade bomb attempt?

They are? he replied, surprised. When told that was the word coming out of Spokane, he seemed pleased, but still surprised, and asked if I had any  more details. The FBI, he said, always keeps things close to the vest.

A short time later, I happened upon Rep. Timm Ormsby, a Spokane Democrat who's district includes the downtown route of the parade, and mentioned the feds were making an arrest, again hoping for some little nugget of news. His brother, Mike Ormsby, is, after all, the U.S. attorney in Spokane.

Rep. Ormsby was surprised, too, and asked who and where. US Atty. Ormsby doesn't talk about the cases, he said.

Clark: Tucker Right In Creach Case

So the verdict is finally in. Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker will NOT charge the sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed an elderly Spokane Valley pastor last August. Is it just me, or was Tucker’s Friday announcement the least surprising local news development since the street department’s admission that Spokane has a pothole problem? Seriously. Did anyone actually think that Tucker would ever take this cop case to a jury? I’ll tell you what is positively shocking, though. Now, I’ve shared my rather low regard for Tucker more than a time or two. (Insert golf-obsessed prosecutor joke here.) That said … I believe Tucker made the unavoidable and legally correct conclusion/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Clark that Prosecutor Steve Tucker made the right call in deciding not to prosecute Deputy Brian Hirzel of Hayden in the shooting of Pastor Wayne Scott Creach?

Hirzel, Creach decision will be next week

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker will announce next week whether Deputy Brian Hirzel will face criminal charges for shooting Pastor Wayne Scott Creach on Aug. 25 in Spokane Valley.

Spokane Police Department investigators met Tuesday to discuss the findings of a private investigator hired by the Creach family.

“In consideration of that meeting and whether there will be any ramifications for the criminal investigation, (Tucker) has decided to wait until next week to release the results of the investigation conducted by his office,” according to a news release by Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter, Spokane County spokeswoman.

Tucker close to decision in Creach case

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker said Friday that he is close to making a decision on whether Deputy Brian Hirzel will face criminal charges for shooting Pastor Wayne Scott Creach on Aug. 25 in Spokane Valley. 

Tucker said Chief Deputy Criminal Prosecutor Jack Driscoll needs to review the report with Spokane Police Detective Brian Hamond early next week before handing it over for Tucker’s review.

“Also, I understand that SPD investigators are meeting on Tuesday to consider if any of the private investigators’ information has criminal/civil implications and needs further investigation before a final decision is made,” Tucker wrote in an e-mail responding to questions.

 Alan Creach, son of the slain pastor, reminded Tucker in a different e-mail Friday that he promised to meet with the family before announcing his decision.

Creach expressed concern that he has had no updates about the progress of the case from the prosecutor’s office.

Tucker wins 4th term as prosecutor

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker was reelected Tuesday night. 

Tucker (right) was leading defense lawyer Frank Malone 33,111 to 28,322 with 37 percent of ballots counted.

Meanwhile, Kootenai County Deputy Prosecutor Jim Reierson campaigned for write-in votes despite the fact that he wasn’t eligible to win the race because he lost in the primary. 

After complaining that the newspaper was ignoring his campaign, Reierson (left) backed out on a planned interview with a reporter on Tuesday, saying he wanted to enjoy the nice weather instead.

“I apologize for not calling you this morning, but I just did not feel like it,” Reierson said. 

Jim Camden has the full story at the Spin Control blog.

Run for prosecutor ignores law

Deputy Kootenai County Prosecutor Jim Reierson has been campaigning for write-in votes for the top prosecutor spot in Spokane County, but it’s a race he can’t legally win.

Running as a candidate who prefers the “Law and Order” Party, Reierson lost his bid for that job in the primary. Washington state has statutes and administrative law that prevent a primary loser from filing a petition for a write-in campaign in the general, and without such a petition on file, write-in votes aren’t tallied.

“The votes will not be counted,” State Elections Director Nick Handy said.

“No write-in vote for that candidate is valid,” Katie Blinn, legal adviser to the Secretary of State’s office said. Two state statutes and a section of state administrative code spell that out, she added.

Reierson recently complained that the newspaper was ignoring his write-in campaign, and the fact that he’s not supporting either candidate for that office in the general. In  a weekend e-mail, he noted the newspaper has carried stories about other write-in campaigns, including Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign for U.S. Senate in Alaska.

(Alaska doesn’t have a law that prohibits a losing primary candidate from running in the general, so Murkowski’s votes can actually be counted and credited to her in that race. For the record: Reierson isn’t supporting either incumbent Steve Tucker or challenger Frank Malone.)

Efforts were unsuccessful this week to contact Reierson to explain why he’d be running for the county’s top legal position by asking voters to cast ballots that are invalid under state law. On Monday he called briefly to return a message and ask for a delay until Tuesday morning because he was tending to a gravely ill friend. On Tuesday, he e-mailed that he preferred “to relax and think about more pleasant memories on a nice sunny day, after dropping off an overdue book at the library. I apologize for not calling you this morning, but I just did not feel like it.”

He did close, however, with this comment on his campaign: “Unlike some candidates, I feel I stand for something positive.”

So as a previous post notes, voters can write in any name they choose on a ballot. But not every name will, or even can, be counted.

 

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

GOP vice chairman voted for Democrat Malone for prosecutor

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.

The vote is a reversal from where Stevens stood after the primary, when he said he supported Tucker because he was concerned that Malone didn’t have the necessary experience for the job. Stevens, who worked under Tucker until Tucker fired him after he announced his candidacy, said he changed his mind after talking to Malone on the phone.

He said Malone assured him that he wouldn’t shake up the staff of deputy prosecuting attorneys.

Stevens is the vice chairman of the Spokane County Republican Party. Asked about his party leadership spot, Stevens said he did not consider his openness about how he voted as an endorsement.

“I get to vote for anyone I want, just like anybody else,” he said.

Hirzel’s order to drop gun was lawful

Although the Constitution gives citizens the right to bear arms, state laws passed since then dictate how citizens can legally carry and use weapons.

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker and other legal experts say the law is crystal clear on this point: A person must follow a lawful order from police.

“When an officer asks you to drop a weapon, you drop it,” Tucker said this week. “Even in the Old West, if a deputy sheriff comes up on an outlaw and says ‘Drop the gun,’ you drop the gun or a gunbattle starts.”

But Alan Creach, son of Wayne Scott Creach, who was killed Aug. 25, said it’s also clear that his father was no “outlaw,” and was well within his rights to carry a gun to protect his property as he had done for years.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse’s story here.

Sept. 17: Police report details pastor’s shooting

Tucker still not backed by own party

The Spokane County Republican Party announced over the weekend that it was endorsing Dino Rossi for U.S. Senate, Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Congress and Al French for county commissioner. Those aren’t surprising moves given the results of the August primary.

But at least one GOP candidate who made it through to November remains without party backing: three-term incumbent Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker. He faces Democrat Frank Malone in the general election.

County Party Chairwoman Cindy Zapotocky said the party hasn’t considered whether to back Tucker because he hasn’t requested an endorsement. The party backed Dave Stevens, who serves as the county party’s vice chairman, in the primary. Zapotocky said Tucker could still request consideration in time for the party’s board to take up the issue in October.

Primary over. Lessons learned?

Thousands of votes are still to be counted from Tuesday’s primary, but along with most races, some lessons are clear.
Lesson 1: It may be uncomfortable to be an incumbent this year, but it’s not fatal. Few incumbents were eliminated in the state’s unusual Top Two primary, but some clearly have their work ahead of them.
Count among them state Sen. Chris Marr, a Spokane businessman who received party acclaim four years ago as the first Democrat to win the seat in Spokane’s 6th District in six decades, but trails GOP challenger Mike Baumgartner in this primary.
Or ask Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker, a three-term Republican incumbent who faced two party challengers and finished second to Democrat Frank Malone.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and most sitting House members had an easy primary night, five-term Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen is trading the lead with Republican challenger John Koster in northwestern Washington’s 2nd District.
For all the knock against establishment candidates…

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.

Bugbee earns another endorsement

The Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Association has endorsed defense attorney Chris Bugbee for the race for Spokane County Prosecutor, according to a campaign news release.

Bugbee, who is currently defending double-homicide suspect Justin W. Crenshaw, said he was informed of the decision late Wednesday. It adds to his list of endorsements that includes the Spokane Police Guild, the Fraternal Order of Police, Local Lodge #20mand a split endorsement from the Republicans of Spokane County.

However, incumbent Steve Tucker earned the other half of the endorsement from the Republicans of Spokane County. But, Deputy Prosecutor David Stevens received the official Republican Party endorsement.

Tucker, Stevens, and Bugbee, all Republicans, face Democrat Frank Malone and Jim Reierson, who has no political affiliation, in the August 17 primary election. The two candidates with the most votes will advance to the general election.

Tucker, Bugbee get dual endorsement

Republican voters looking for a little help on the Spokane County prosecutor primary are going to have to do a bit more than just scan the endorsements the candidates list.

After a forum last Monday, the Republicans of Spokane County decided to make a dual endorsement of incumbent Steve Tucker and challenger Chris Bugbee.

This may be particularly UN-helpful because the Spokane County Republican Party has endorsed challenger Dave Stevens.

Confused? It’s necessary to remember that the Republicans of Spokane County is separate from the county Republican Party. The former is an organization of like-minded GOP types, while the latter is the official party structure.

While it is a bit unusual for the official party to endorse someone other than a party member who is the incumbent office holder, as the county GOP did in this race, Stevens is the party’s vice chair.

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’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

Tucker tepid about prosecutor’s office review

Prosecutor Steve Tucker doesn’t know the guy’s name or where he’s from, but he’s hoping that the “professional prosecutor” found by a consultant can help Spokane County solve a worsening problem of releasing crime suspects back into the community because his office is unable to file necessary paperwork.

“I’m not too much in favor of hiring more consultants,” Tucker said. “That money could be used hiring attorneys back and getting them back to work here.”

But he said he agreed to the plan rather than risk being labeled an “obstructionist.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse’s story here.

Election update: Stevens gets new manager

The former deputy prosecutor challenging his boss for the top prosecutor’s spot has a new campaign manager.

Rae Lynn Conger will manage Dave Stevens’ campaign against Prosecutor Steve Tucker, Stevens announced today. His former manager Michael Cathcart, left the campaign to become campaign manager for Michael Baumgartner, who is running for state Senate in the 6th district against Chris Marr.

Conger has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Eastern Washington University. In 2006, she spoke with The Spokesman-Review about her objection to identify her race on forms or applications. Read that story here.

Stevens was fired by Tucker last month. He’s challenging the dismissal through his union.

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

Spokane cop killer will stay in prison

OLYMPIA — Convicted cop-killer Lonnie Link does not warrant a lighter sentence for shooting Spokane Police Officer Brian Orchard in 1983, even though he helped federal prosecutors bring down more than two dozen members of a criminal motorcycle gang after he went to prison, a state board said today.

The state Clemency and Pardons Board heard what members agreed was an extraordinary plea to commute Link’s sentence of life without parole to simply life, a move that could allow him to be released some day.

The prosecutor who convicted him, former County Prosecutor Don Brockett, and one of the detectives involved in the case, joined Link’s former defense attorney Mark Vovos in arguing for clemency for Link.

But the current prosecutor, Steve Tucker, joined members of Orchard’s family and other members of the state’s law enforcement community in arguing against it.

Read the rest of Jim Camden’s story here.

Stevens releases letter to Tucker

David Stevens has released his response to the complaints that led to his firing as a deputy prosecutor.

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker fired Stevens, who had been with the office since 2002, yesterday after putting him on leave shortly after he announced he was running for Tucker’s job.

“It was a management decision,” Tucker said. “To work effectively, we have to have a unified team. Unfortunately, when (Stevens) decided to run, he went back during work time and started making statements about who he would fire and about replacing the entire management team. “

In a five-page letter addressed to Tucker Feb. 11 and released publicly today, Stevens said no one would be fired if he’s elected.

He detailed a conversation he had with another deputy prosecutor who had asked if his job was safe if Stevens won. Stevens says he told him yes but mentioned a supervisor he feels lacks necessary skills.

“In response to his questions, I said that I found it unusual that supervisor and the people they supervise aren’t separated better,” Stevens wrote. “If elected, it’s an issue I would like to consider, but in no way did I ever say that supervisors shouldn’t’ be union members.”

Stevens continues, “Mr. Grasso asked me if I thought I would be fired. In response to his question, I told Mr. Grasso that I hoped not but many of my friends thought it might be good publicity and I shared what my friends had said about how it would “get a few bites at this apple…” I was clear in responding to his question, saying that I hoped not to be fired and that I was just as committed to working my cases as I had always been.”

Read the entire letter here

Past coverage:

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

Tucker fires election opponent

By Thomas Clouse

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker fired today the deputy prosecutor who announced earlier this month his intention to challenge Tucker in the August primary.

Tucker (right) fired Deputy Prosecutor David Stevens after a meeting this morning. Stevens, who announced his firing by a campaign e-mail, had previously referred to Tucker as an “absent administrator.”

“This appalling outcome simply reinforces why so many in our community are frustrate with the prosecutor’s office,” Stevens (bottom left) said in a news release. “This poor decision isn’t going to deter or alter our campaign in any way. I plan to continue focusing on Spokane County’s important issues and availing myself to be out listening to the public’s concerns at every possible opportunity.” 

Also today, local attorney Frank Malone will announce his bid to unseat Tucker, who beat James Sweetser in 1998, ran unopposed in 2002 and defeated Bob Caruso in the 2006 election.

As for Stevens, who like Tucker is a Republican, he said he will follow through with his union’s grievance process and hopes to be reinstated to the job that pays him $86,000 a year.

Past coverage:

Democrat joins prosecutor race

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

Stevens will challenge Tucker for Spokane County prosecutor