Roe is the obvious choice

Perhaps the easiest decision Snohomish County voters face on the Nov. 2 ballot is in the race for Snohomish County prosecutor. Mark Roe, who was appointed to the post a year ago after Janice Ellis resigned to become prosecutor for the Tulalip Tribes, is the clear choice.

At a time of deep budget cuts throughout county government, Roe’s leadership is paying serious dividends. Backed by an office of dedicated deputies, Roe has introduced efficiencies that have dramatically reduced backlogs of criminal cases in an office that has lost approximately 20 positions the past two years.

Deputy prosecutors are also working harder and longer, out of a sense of duty. The example Roe set over 23 years in the office, carrying heavy caseloads while also handling supervisory and other tasks, has no doubt inspired many of them. He isn’t expecting anything of them he wouldn’t do himself.

His attitude toward budget cuts has been realistic. Rather than griping, he has sought innovative ways to get the work done with fewer resources. Tasks that aren’t absolutely necessary have been reduced or eliminated. For example, attorneys are spending far less time copying documents and thumbing through unnecessary pages.

The office has also forged cooperative partnerships with law enforcement agencies. It has started using the probable-cause statements police write rather than having deputy prosecutors prepare their own in every case. A pilot project has the office receiving cases electronically from some police departments, and delivering them that way to defense attorneys too, saving time and reams of paper.

Add to that Roe’s experience handling many of the county’s toughest, most infamous cases, and his statewide reputation as a leading advocate for the compassionate treatment of crime victims, and it’s really no contest.

Roe’s opponent, Jim Kenny, a local fire commissioner who works in the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, disappointed us — and even some of his backers — recently when he raised unfounded suggestions of corruption on Roe’s part.

Kenny’s accusations, that Roe may have given lenient treatment to a suspect in exchange for a campaign contribution from the suspect’s family, were haphazard and irresponsible.

Roe insists he had no knowledge of the case before Kenny brought it up, and a close look shows it was handled just as many similar cases are. The defendant, facing felony drug possession charges (he was arrested with prescription pain medications), was offered an expedited prosecution, a plea agreement that reduced the felony charge to a gross misdemeanor. It’s a common offer made to defendants with no felony history, as was the case here.

We’re confident Roe’s reputation will survive this sleazy attack. Time, and his own future behavior, will determine whether Kenny’s does.

Talk to us

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Saturday, Sept. 23

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Randall Tharp’s month recovery coins after battling a fentanyl addiction.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Editorial: Fentanyl crisis should force rethinking of approach

A continuum of care, that includes treatment in jails, is imperative, says a journalist and author.

Comment: ‘Legacy forest’ term hides an unproductive intent

Meant to lock up state forest lands, it discourages responsible and valuable timber management.

Comment: Effort to lower drug costs could hurt other patients

Those suffering from rare diseases face a longer wait for medications if research is discouraged.

Forum: Hospital waiting rooms shouldn’t be patient warehouses

Why are hospitals, like Providence, understaffed with nurses, leaving patients to wait for hours for care?

Forum: Our climate change efforts need to include NW’s grid

With a shared electrical grid, the Northwest needs a cooperative effort on energy production and use.

Saunders: Others serving time for following GOP’s Pied Piper

Trump’s ultimate fate is undetermined, but for now, others are paying the price for his election denial.

Editorial cartoons for Friday, Sept. 22

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Flowers bloom on the end of a dead tree on Spencer Island on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Restore salmon habitat but provide view of its work

Comments are sought on a plan to restore fish habitat to the island east of Everett with popular trails.

Most Read