Tucker, Stevens, Bugbee Set to Debate for Spokane Prosecutor Race

The Republican Spokane Prosecutor candidates will square off tomorrow (Monday the 21st) for the first time in a debate hosted by the Republicans of Spokane County. The three Republican candidates are Steve Tucker, David Stevens, and Chris Bugbee.  It starts at 6:30 p.m. at Quality Inn Suites at I-90 and Argonne in the Spokane Valley.  See story in the blog Spin Control.  The “moderator” will be Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.  You have to wonder a little about what they were thinking in having Knezovich handle this thing.  It seems that the best moderators are the ones who do not draw attention to themselves, and rather help educate the voters about the candidates.  Ozzie Knezovich may have not endorsed any particular candidate, but he is hardly impartial.  The incumbent Steve Tucker is actually Knezovich’s lawyer, at least in the sense that Tucker is the county attorney, and his office gives legal advice to county departments.  Knezovich is also busy himself in pushing for the new jail he wants, and this project has been hampered somewhat by the fact that Steve Tucker has had a hard time filling the current jail with convicts.  Knezovich announced layoffs of 57 jail employees in Spokane last month.  See story.  Meanwhile the Spokane Police Guild has already endorsed one of Tucker’s opponents, Chris Bugbee.  The Guild, in a public statement, opined that Tucker is too inclined to settle cases, and that Bugbee is more inclined to “fight regardless of the consequences.”  The other thing about the debate is that the public who attends will want to hear about the candidates from their prospective, not necessarily from the prospective of the sheriff.  The Spin Control blog jokes with readers that at least having the Sheriff there will keep the peace.  But my guess is that the event will be pretty bland.  A better bet for excitement will be across town, as the Spokane City Council considers again an ordinance granting more powers to the local police ombudsman.  The City Council meeting is at City Hall (of course) at 6 p.m. the same night as the debate.  I have blogged in the past about the need for reform in this area.  The new proposed law before the city council would give the independent ombudsman greater authority by conducting independent investigations of police officer actions.   Lately, the ombudsman reversed his stance and is now asking the council for the right to examine allegations of police misconduct independent of the police internal investigation.  Apparently he had said last year that this was unnecessary.   Some of the same people who have been pushing for police reform are also strong critics of Steve Tucker (see this blog for example).   It looks like Tucker will get a little break Monday night, as proponents of police reform cannot be in two places at once.

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Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking: www.grahamdefense.com
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