Barkhuis blog – recent
- Primary results 2018
- Law & Justice Panel Discussion
- PABA prosecutor debate
- Watch KIRO-TV re Nichols
- On the Todd Ortloff show
- Nichols and his “nearly absolute powers”
- The 2nd best time to plant a tree…
- My stress and The Power of Now
- Nichols Price Tag
- Nissen Affidavits by Barkhuis
- About my calling Nichols “a rat…”
- Elect Selinda Barkhuis Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney
- Filing for Prosecuting Attorney
- Citizen Draft: New County Prosecutor
- My consent and my voice
- Shattered Ceilings
- Look what you made me do…
Barkhuis blog – archive
About the panel discussion:
The Clallam Progressive Coalition sponsored a free public panel discussion, “Clallam County Justice: A Panel Discussion,” on Saturday July 14, 2018 in at the Port Angeles Public Library’s Carver Room.
Residents heard from local candidates for sheriff, prosecuting attorney and district court judge within a larger discussion of the criminal justice challenges facing the community.
The panel was moderated by Assistant Attorney General Tim Davis.
The format gave each participant a chance to speak for five minutes on their experiences and offer their perspective on what they see as the major challenges facing the justice system in Clallam County and possible approaches to take.
There was then an opportunity for audience members to ask questions of the entire panel.
The Clallam Progressive Coalition is a political action group dedicated to a platform of economic, social and environmental matters that ensures the health, rights and well-being of our community. They recently hosted a “Women in Politics” discussion; group representatives said they hope that this panel will be the first of many conversations.
For more about the coalition, see www.clallamprogressivecoalition.org.
Watch the KIRO 7-TV expose on the Mark Nichols sexual harassment lawsuit on how a judge postponed the case so that voters wouldn’t know about it before they vote for County prosecutor in November. The expose aired on Thursday July 19, 2018 during the 5 PM News show on Channel 7.
More to come…
Listen to the July 16, 2018 debate.
My opening statement:
Thank you Todd for having me here today and giving me the opportunity to explain to the voters of Clallam County why they should elect me prosecuting attorney.
My name is Selinda Barkhuis. I graduated law school in 1994 and I have lived and worked in Clallam County since 1995.
For the first seven years of my legal career, I had an active family law and criminal defense practice.
After a stint as senior planner in the county’s department of community development, I have been elected three times by the voters of Clallam County to public office, twice as the County Treasurer and also for a term as a charter review commissioner.
I’ve also been elected two times as Clallam County Bar President, and I’ve been recognized several times over the years for my public service and my efforts to improve access to justice.
I am running for prosecutor to pursue justice for all of us, especially the most vulnerable among us, and to restore trust and fiscal responsibility to the prosecutor’s office. To that end, I have a five step action plan, as follows.
- One, as prosecutor I will execute the almost absolute power of prosecutorial discretion consistent with my track record of being an ardent champion of the statutory and constitutional rights of all of us.
- Two, when I am prosecutor I will provide legal advice to the prosecutor’s statutory clients that is professional, conflict-free, and above board.
- Three, when I am prosecutor I will review the budgets of both the county prosecutor’s office as well as the county’s risk management department for the purpose of restoring financial responsibility involving the prosecutor’s office.
- Four, when I am prosecutor I will aggressively collect on all the debts that have been outstanding for many years now on the county’s various franchise and interlocal agreements.
- And five, as prosecutor I will carry my own case load and prosecute crimes against the most vulnerable among us right alongside my deputies.
What is so important for the public to understand is that the position of prosecutor is among the most powerful of elected offices, due to the prosecutor’s almost absolute discretionary power to file criminal charges and civil lawsuits, and as such impact far-reaching professional and financial ramifications, wrongly so if that discretion is abused by, for instance, withholding evidence, disregarding the truth, disregarding the law, or via threatening or abusive behavior.
This year Clallam County voters have a once in a four-year opportunity to decide who should wield that almost absolute power as prosecuting attorney.
Their choices are:
- The incumbent, champion of expensive lawsuits that call into question his professional judgment as well as his personal boundaries.
- And yours truly, who, according to the incumbent himself, is an ardent champion of your rights and who, as county treasurer, successfully restored trust and fiscal responsibility to the treasurer office.
As your prosecuting attorney, I promise to likewise restore trust and fiscal responsibility to the Prosecutor’s Office, and I promise to pursue justice consistent with the rights of all us, especially the most vulnerable among us.
Please elect me county prosecutor. I thank you for your vote.
Prosecutorial discretion refers to the fact that under American law, government prosecuting attorneys have nearly absolute powers. A prosecuting attorney has power on various matters including those relating to choosing whether or not to bring criminal charges, deciding the nature of charges, plea bargaining and sentence recommendation. This discretion of the prosecuting attorney is called prosecutorial discretion.
Prosecutorial misconduct is conduct which violates court rules or ethical standards of law practice. Examples, among others, may include:
- Courtroom misconduct (making improper remarks or improperly introducing evidence designed to prejudice the jury: violating rules regarding selection of the jury; or making improper closing arguments);
- Hiding, destroying or tampering with evidence, case files or court records;
- Failing to disclose evidence that might tend to exonerate the defendant;
- Threatening, badgering or tampering with witnesses;
- Presenting false or misleading evidence;
- Selective or vindictive prosecution;
- Denial of a speedy trial rights;
- Use of unreliable and untruthful witnesses and snitches.
In deciding who you want wielding that nearly absolute power of prosecutorial discretion in Clallam County for the next four years, consider the following:
- Nichols was a defendant in an age and gender discrimination case that alleged he treated women in the Prosecutor’s Office in a hostile, demeaning and condescending manner that was settled at a cost to the taxpayers of at least $1.6 million plus attorney’s fees.
- Nichols was the legal adviser to OPNET in a civil forfeiture case where the judge found that law enforcement officers, including the prosecutor, committed intentional misconduct involving reckless disregard of the truth, costing the taxpayers at least $300,000 in attorney’s fees and fines.
- Nichols was a defendant in the Lange public records case that alleged he and his deputies repeatedly and wrongfully withheld large amounts of public records that were relevant to Mr. Lange’s land use case against his neighbor. Violating some very basic rules, defendant Mark Nichols and his deputies settled not only the public records case, but also Mr. Lange’s land use case against his neighbor, obviously to prevent that case going forward to trial and outing Mark Nichols’ complete disregard for the law. All of which at a cost to county taxpayers of well over $500,000 in reserve funds plus attorney’s fees.
- And Nichols is currently the defendant in a sexual harassment case in which he has admitted that he spent many (taxpayer funded) hours a day for months at a time attempting to get his married office manager to go to bed with him at a cost to the taxpayers of how much more?
In the meantime, Nichols has established quite a track record of failing to prosecute crimes against the most vulnerable among us.
In contrast, please consider my qualifications and track record.
Please elect me Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney. I promise to pursue justice and restore trust and fiscal responsibility to the Clallam County Prosecutor’s Office.
Thank you for your vote.
I think pretty much all the law and justice candidates for Clallam County elected office agree on the main issues facing Clallam County: Opioids, homelessness, and mental health.
Apparently Mark Nichols has quite a nice little powerpoint with statistics to that effect.
But besides collecting those statistics, what has Mark Nichols done about these issues during his first term as prosecuting attorney?
Obviously these issues are not within the prosecutor’s sole control to resolve. It will take all of us spending serious time working together leveraging our limited resources to impact change.
But having spent almost four years on the job now, it’s a fair question to consider how Mark Nichols has spent his taxpayer funded time and resources so far, beyond…
- Pursuing his office manager for hours a day for months at a time during the first two years of elected office incurring liability being defended at taxpayer expense.
- Writing pile of crap legal opinions defending the county administrator’s pile of crap execution of county policy that cost you as taxpayers $millions in taxpayer reserve funds and rights.
- Stealthily hiring private lawyers at significant public expense to masquerade as “risk pool lawyers” for the purpose of interfering with the duties of other county public officials to execute their duties consistent with law.
- Breaking all sorts of conflict of interest rules in convincing the county commissioners to settle cases that serve his own self-interest costing you yet more (upward from $500K) in taxpayer reserve funds and rights.
The above dubious activities have not only taken up most of Nichols’ time during the last four years (so much so that he has yet to assume his own case load), they have cost you as county taxpayers $millions in reserve funds.
Four years of time and $millions in reserve funds that could have been and should have been spent addressing such issues as opioids, homelessness, and mental health.
There is a saying that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.
The second best time to plant a tree is today.
Let’s not waste another four years on Mark Nichols.
Please elect Selinda Barkhuis Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney!