deGavre: Why I won't vote for Gaylord

Dear Editor,

There are two reasons why I will not vote for Randy Gaylord.

The defining moment in Gaylord’s current term was his handling of the accusations made against Detective Stephen Parker. The facts need not be repeated. They have been published in The Journal, The Seattle Times (Mike Carter’s “A Tale of Sex and Deception in San Juan County”), and in Alex MacLeod’s letters.

No charges were filed against Parker – not for rape, not for abuse of his power as a police officer, not for misappropriation of County assets, not for disclosing privileged documents, not for committing perjury under oath, and not for pressuring a witness, and not for violating multiple sections of the Rules of Conduct of the Sheriff’s Office. Two years later a State Commission slapped Parker on the wrist and revoked his officer certification.

By any measure, Gaylord failed to rise to the challenge. The case gives the appearance, if not the reality, of the unequal application of justice when applied to a police officer. His decisions concerning prosecuting Parker, his lack of clarity in delegating the case to Skagit prosecutors, and his closed-mind before the County Council raise serious doubts about his leadership of our County’s criminal justice system. Most fundamentally, they question his commitment to truth and justice.

Secondly, in my one personal experience with Gaylord, he has demonstrated that he is not, as he asserts, compassionate. Gaylord successfully prosecuted a respected person I know who was then incarcerated at the Coupeville jail and later transferred to the privately-operated, lower-cost Yakima jail.

As part of the transfer, Coupeville entered into his record a reduction in his sentence for good behavior and Yakima posted this earlier release date. San Juan County immediately objected, directing Yakima to ignore the reduction in sentence for good behavior.

This is contrary to State law which states that the facility having jurisdiction determines time-off for good behavior. The prisoner retained counsel who had numerous communications with Gaylord (and accrued $6400 in legal fees).

Gaylord ultimately acquiesced to an early release date, but several days beyond the date posted by Yakima and one or two days beyond the prisoner’s eligibility to apply for citizenship. He would not agree to the posted date unless ordered to do so by a Court – a process with ruinous legal fees for the prisoner. Gaylord’s actions were callous, punitive and extortionary.

One further point. The Yakima jail is a dirty, crowded holding tank – distant from family and friends, zero educational offerings, rare recreational opportunities, poor food, ethnic division, clean clothes once a week. No one enters this facility and returns a better citizen. Gaylord together with the Sheriff’s office bears responsibility for incarcerating our young people in this Dickensian tank.

Robert deGavre


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