Letters to the Editor — Sequim Gazette, Nov. 2, 2016

A vote for Neupert

My vote for Superior Court Judge, Position 2, is for Dave Neupert because he will not shy away from shaking up the status quo.

Clallam’s Court system needs a boost toward modernization to bring the standards in line with the rest of the state. For example, there are excessive delays in probate cases that exceed the State’s standards. Since newer technology has not entered the courts, many documents fall through the cracks. Unacceptable!

As a registered nurse who is a veteran of the US Air Force, I know a Veterans Court will benefit those who have served our country proudly and are accused of a crime. Please join me to make a positive change for our community and mark your ballot to vote for Dave Neupert.

Susan Sorensen

Sequim

Support Neupert for judge

I am writing this letter in support of Dave Neupert; Clallam County Superior Court, Position 2. It isn’t often that you come across a person who is completely dedicated to their family, their work and serving the people of our county; and doing so with humility; Dave is that person.

A judge presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open court. The judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the barristers of the case, assesses the credibility and arguments of the parties, and then issues a ruling on the matter at hand based on his or her interpretation of the law and his or her own personal judgment. Dave will bring these skills to our courthouse.

Please join me in voting for Dave Neupert; Clallam County Superior Court, Position 2.

Jim Stoffer

Sequim

Local courtroom culture needs to change

The Superior Court Judicial election will give the winner the chance to make needed improvements in local practice. The current courtroom culture has no apparent standards or expectation of basic courtroom decorum.

Our judges tolerate without comment snarky personal attacks on opposing counsel; tattling on opposing counsel; permitting counsel to interrupt arguments by opposing counsel and even rulings being made by the court. Counsel are permitted without consequence to be unprepared, not having met with clients including clients in jail; to fail to appear for scheduled court appearances without excuse or explanation, all behavior which would draw an instant reaction from a judge anywhere else in the state.

A more significant problem is the refusal to require pretrial omnibus hearings to list witnesses, indicate the nature of the defense and schedule issues that need to be resolved before trial, such as exclusion of evidence on a claim of illegal search or confessions. Omnibus hearings are mandatory by Supreme Court Rule and are held in every case in every other county in the state. The refusal to require omnibus hearings leads to requests for hearings just before trial, which would be addressed well in advance of trial in other courts.

On at least one occasion, a defense evidence motion was made on the day of trial just before jury selection was about to start. This required a trial continuance with resulting cost to the taxpayers and inconvenience to the citizens who responded to the jury summons and took a day out of their lives for nothing. Again, no consequence and no apparent expectation that the tactic not be repeated.

Local court practices result in unnecessary continuances, completely avoidable delays getting cases to trial and an unpleasant and unprofessional courtroom environment. It lowers respect for the court, and is unfair to the parties, but mostly unfair to the taxpayers of Clallam County, who deserve better.

John Troberg

Sequim

Editor’s note: Troberg is the former Clallam County chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney and works as a part-time employee with the county prosecutor’s office.

Consider who is at fault

Remember, the Democrats all voted for Obamacare. Not a single Republican voted for this disaster.

The rates for 2017 are increasing by at least 25 percent. You might think about this when you vote.

Ken Westby

Sequim

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