LETTER: Clallam County numbers reported incorrectly

Dear Editor:

I am quite concerned over a statement that appears within the Dec. 1, 2016, article “Judge Edwards: County prosecutor should resign.”

The statement reads “On Nov. 23, a court representative at Clallam County said they had 295 felony cases that were outstanding (filed by law enforcement but not yet addressed by the prosecutor’s office).”

As worded, this statement leads a reasonable person to believe that the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is in possession of 295 felony cases that have been referred by law enforcement for charging consideration but not yet reviewed or addressed in any way by the prosecutor’s office. This is not correct.

Instead, the 295 number that was provided to (The Vidette) by one of my support staff on Nov. 23 reflects the total number of “open cases” within our felony database.

It is important to note that open cases include: cases that have been referred by law enforcement and charged by the prosecutor’s office and that are actively being prosecuted before the Superior Court, cases that have been referred by law enforcement and reviewed by the prosecutor’s office and sent back with a request for further investigation so we can make an informed charging decision, and cases that have been referred by law enforcement and not yet reviewed.

I would note that the actual number of felony cases that have been referred by law enforcement and that are awaiting review by deputy prosecutors is 165 and not 295.

This number is presently higher than it has been in recent past due in large part to the fact that we recently charged two murder cases that are consuming an inordinate amount of office resource. Thus, I expect this number will decrease over the course of time.

Mark Nichols

Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney