0

Prosecuting Attorney: Juris Vs. Hoctor

Election 2010

The Enterprise is profiling candidates in the various contested races throughout the area during the month of October. In this segment, we interview the two candidates competing for the opportunity to serve as the Klickitat County Prosecuting Attorney over the next four years.

The candidates for the office are Craig Juris, a Republican who lives in Goldendale; and Lori Hoctor, also a Republican from Goldendale.

Juris has been an attorney since 2001, and has spent his entire career serving in prosecuting attorney's offices. Juris has been working for Klickitat County for about eight years, including serving as the county's chief criminal deputy over the last five years.

Hoctor received her Doctorate in Law from Ohio Northern University School of Law. Currently, she owns and operates a private law practice, and also assists her husband and grandmother with the family's farming and cattle operations.

THE ENTERPRISE:

Why did you decide to run for this office?

HOCTOR:

I decided to run for this office because this county has given so much to me that I feel it is only right for me to want to give back to it. This county is not a stepping stone or a dumping ground for people's unwanted employees. This county is one of the most beautiful places in the country, and is filled with honest, hardworking individuals who remember what it was like to seal a deal with a handshake; a place where family means something. I was able to watch and observe how the Prosecutor's Office is currently being run and the people who run it. I know I can do a better job because I have the experience, qualifications, and commitment to this county.

JURIS:

I decided to run for this office because I have dedicated my entire career to serving my community as a member of a prosecuting attorney's office. In fact, it is the reason I became a lawyer. Public service is something that is not taken as seriously as it used to be. I believe the Prosecuting Attorney is a critical position in protecting the citizens of Klickitat County in both the criminal and civil courts. My decision to run was strengthened when it became clear that no other experienced attorney was going to run for this position. This is not an area where the county, or the citizens, can afford on the job training for whoever is elected. I have the experience to make that unnecessary.

THE ENTERPRISE:

Do you believe change is needed in the Klickitat County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, and if so, what changes would you propose?

JURIS:

The only way for any office to grow and improve is through change. Staying stagnant does not benefit anyone. The first change that I will make is in the primary focus of the Prosecuting Attorney's Office. For the last nine years, the elected prosecutor has been a civil attorney. My opponent wants to maintain that tradition. A prosecuting attorney should do what the title requires: prosecute. However, civil issues are extremely important and cannot be ignored. Mr. O'Neill, the current Prosecuting Attorney, will not be part of the office when I am elected and I will hire the best and most experienced civil attorney possible. I will also make sure that there are no long delays in how things are handled. The courts may take their time with cases, but there is no reason the Prosecuting Attorney's Office cannot get things done in a timely manner. Finally, I will expand community outreach programs such as presentations at schools, work with community councils, and assistance to community watch programs that have begun under my guidance.

HOCTOR:

A change is needed. Our Prosecuting Attorney's Office needs to reduce its dependency on outside counsel. By doing this, we can use those wasted dollars in other places throughout the county, for example, to help seniors, improve schools, give back to veterans. I have a plan that includes building a team of capable, experienced attorneys who are mentored and given the opportunity to be great attorneys who are respected and rewarded for their intelligence, competence, and ability to work as a team to better Klickitat County. By developing the skills of the attorneys within the Prosecutor's Office and making them feel like valued members of a team, we can increase efficiency in the office and reduce costs. When you have a strong, intelligent pool of attorneys at home, our county will rely less on outside attorneys and be able to make better decisions that directly affect and relate to Klickitat County.

THE ENTERPRISE:

If you are elected to this office, what will you do to reassure citizens of the county that your office is effectively prosecuting those charged with crimes?

HOCTOR:

Through outreach, education, and better communication with victims of crime, I will be able to ensure that citizens feel confident in the fact that my office is effectively prosecuting those charged with crimes. I will ensure that confidentiality within the office is strictly observed and adhered to. Because I have been both a criminal prosecutor, civil attorney, and a defense attorney, I bring perspective to the job. I can look at a case as a defense attorney, as a civil attorney, and as a criminal prosecutor and, as Prosecuting Attorney, better anticipate what the other side is going to do.

JURIS:

The prosecution of criminals will be my top priority. I have extensive experience in this area and have proven my ability to hold criminals accountable. That is why I have been endorsed by the union membership of both the Klickitat County Sheriff's Deputies and the Goldendale Police Officers. My history in this area can been shown in my success rate. The Washington State Courts' Web site shows that I had a conviction rate of 75 percent in 2009, which increased to 88 percent in trials. This was higher than any of our neighboring counties. During that same time, my opponent had only a 58 percent conviction rate, which was 80 percent at trial. This number fell to only 48 percent in what are called "criminal non-traffic" offense. These are victim-based crimes including assault, harassment, trespassing, theft, and domestic violence, among others. My opponent dismissed over 350 of those cases, allowing the criminals to go free. I will continue to work with law enforcement not only on prosecutions but also on preparing and serving search warrants and make myself available to the officers 24 hours a day. I will also continue to give legal training to the office on a regular basis as I have done for the last several years.

THE ENTERPRISE:

What reasons would you give to voters to convince them to vote for you rather than your opponent?

JURIS:

Experience in any position is important. I have the experience needed to be a successful Prosecuting Attorney. The people who understand what this job entails know that I am the best choice. That is why I have been endorsed by the entire support staff for the current Prosecuting Attorney's Office and the previously mentioned law enforcement groups, all of whom have worked with both candidates. I have also been endorsed by the Klickitat County Civil Service Commissioners, former County Commissioners Joan Frey and Don Struck, and members of 18 prosecuting attorney's offices around the state, including 17 elected prosecutors. I know how to do this job. No training will be needed. I will be able to work for you, the citizens of Klickitat County, the second I take office. I have no personal agenda or ax to grind. My only purpose has been and will continue to be protecting the citizens of Klickitat County.

HOCTOR:

I ask Klickitat County citizens for their vote because I am the most qualified candidate for this job and have a plan to reduce costs and to increase convictions while reducing our dependency on outside counsel. I have been honored to receive a handful of r‚sum‚s from qualified attorneys throughout the state, asking to be a part of my team. The current office has serious management issues. Come Jan. 1, 2011, I will be able to walk into that office with a team in place that can not only handle the job, but excel at it in a way that Klickitat County has not seen in a very long time. It is time for a change, and I am that change.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment