May 30, 2008

WA: Grant County - the saga continues

The Ephrata / Soap Lake / Moses Lake p.d. crisis has gone away, but the lawsuit that fixed it hasn't. From the Columbia Basin Herald:

ACLU mulls appeal in Grant County public defender settlement - Judge ruled in Grant County's favor

A Seattle attorney representing the ACLU said it hasn't been decided if a recent ruling made in Grant County's favor will be appealed... Kittitas County Superior Court Judge Michael E. Cooper ruled Grant County will not have to pay the ACLU $100,000 concerning the county's representation of poor clients in 2006... Seattle attorney Don Scaramastra said he believes the county failed to keep promises during its attorney shortage in Dec. 2006...

In 2006, the county had difficulty luring attorneys to rural Grant County because attorneys believed the ACLU would be looking over their shoulders, (Grant County Commissioner Richard) Stevens said. But for Grant County's 2006 performance, Judge Cooper decided the county made significant enough growth in the settlement agreement it has with the ACLU, Stevens said. "The judge ruled that it wasn't perfect, but very good," Stevens said. "The judge said the citizens of Grant County are being served well by the indigent defense plan..."