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Flaherty Running To Unseat Deschutes DA Dugan


For the first time in two decades, Deschutes County District Attorney Mike Dugan has drawn an election foe – a former deputy district attorney, now defense lawyer who is critical of the incumbent for what he calls too much stumping for tax hikes and other elected officials.

“I believe the district attorney’s office should be about justice, not politics,” Patrick Flaherty said after his Monday morning announcement on the county courthouse steps.

“The DA has a duty to seek justice – that’s his main obligation – not merely to convict,” Flaherty said, citing the much-criticized conviction and 75-month prison term imposed upon David Black in 2004 in the street-racing death of two girls.

In his announcement news release, Flaherty claimed Dugan is “completely out of touch with the community’s sense of what’s right.

“I’m also concerned to see the DA out campaigning for ballot measures like Measures 66 and 67,” he said. “We elected the DA to work inside the courtroom, not to be out on the political stump for ballot measures or other elected officials.”

Flaherty claimed Dugan has shown he’s “not willing to work with the resources he has available,” and should work to be “more efficient,” rather than seek more funding.

Dugan, who has been DA since 1987 and announced his re-election filing in a Twitter “tweet” last fall, disagreed with his challenger’s positions.

“The office of the district attorney is a political office,” the prosecutor said.

“When I’m out on the stump, I’m talking about maintaining open prisons, so we can put bad people in prison,” Dugan said. “I’m talking about maintaining the (OSP) crime lab, so we can test our evidence and get it into court. I’m talking about maintaining 24/7 Oregon State Police patrol.”

The DA also took issue with Flaherty’s claims his office hasn’t sought out efficiencies, saying it has “reduced the cost of prosecution” while working on programs to reduce recidivism (repeat offenders).

“I’m proud of the job the district attorney’s office has done, putting people like (“Thrill Killer”) Jeffrey Lee Spoonire away, forever,” he said. “These things are important to keep this community safe. We’re going to continue to operate this way.”

Before Dugan became DA, a job funded by local and state taxes, Dugan was Baker County deputy DA 1976-78, a deputy DA in Deschutes County from 1978-82, and in private practice with wife Judy Stiegler from 1983-86.

Flaherty has been a private defense lawyer since 2001, and before that spent six years as Deschutes County’s chief deputy DA (1995-2001), a deputy DA from 1992-95, a Lincoln County deputy DA from 1989-92, and a judicial clerk in Clackamas County in 1987-88.

Tuesday is the filing deadline for the May 18 primary.

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