Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flaherty To Get Blaylock Murder Case

Posted By on Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 1:30 AM

In a break from string of hostilities dating back to the May election campaign, District Attorney Mike Dugan has announced that his successor DA-elect Patrick Flaherty will serve as a special prosecutor on the high profile Lori Blaylock murder case. Blaylock's husband, Steven, was arrested last week and charged with killing his wife whose body has not yet been found.

Flaherty who takes office in January has been publicly battling with Dugan's office and county brass over issues related to his transition, particularly his authority to fire some of the deputy district attorneys and office staff when he takes control after the New Year.

However, given that Flaherty will likely have the reins through the bulk of the Blaylock prosecution, Dugan said in a press release that it would be appropriate to bring him into the case now as a special prosecutor.

"It is important to both of us that the work that is being carried out in this office for the benefit of our citizens be continued. Community safety is, and will remain, a primary goal of the district attorney's office," Dugan said in the prepared statement that alludes to the very public acrimony between Flaherty and the outgoing DA.

The release also indicated that the two met on Wednesday to discuss issues related to the office, which Dugan described as a "productive" discussion. That's a departure from some of the recent headlines, which have detailed how Flaherty has already butted heads with Dugan's staff, beginning with the August revelation that he intended to fire chief deputy Darryl Nakahira.

Deputy D.A.s responded by moving to unionize, which they did successfully in September. Since then the county has been working to develop the terms of the DDA's collective bargaining agreement. In the meantime, the county's legal staff wrote a formal letter to Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, essentially requesting that Kroger tell Flaherty to back off.

"If the county is named as a defendant in any lawsuit arising from Mr. Flaherty's actions, the county will tender such claims to the state. For these reasons, we respectfully request that you or someone from your office discuss Mr. Flaherty's plans with him either before he takes office, or at the very least, before he implements them," Deschutes County Attorney Mark Pilliod wrote in a two-and-a-half page letter to Kroger, dated October 26.

Those issues, notwithstanding Dugan and Flaherty announced Wednesday that they would spending next week with their transition teams to address issues related to changeover in the office, including case load management, the budget and "external issues."

Should be a fun pow-wow.

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