Many people have approached me asking for my views on Sheriff Krebs’ manipulation of the courtroom security camera so that defense counsel notes were legible during the criminal trial of State v. Dustin Schible.
It is too early tell the full extent and duration of this type of conduct. But is essential that this must be resolved.
Since I ran for the office of Prosecuting Attorney, I found myself focused on what I would have done if the roles were reversed.
The Prosecutor should have taken three actions. Immediately, the Prosecutor should have (1) Ensured that evidence was preserved; (2) Called for an outside investigation; and, (3) Insisted that outside counsel was retained to represent Sheriff Krebs.
At a minimum, all security video recordings in the possession or control of the County should have been duplicated and stored on a device that was then placed for safekeeping with the Court or Washington State Patrol. Simply, the preservation of this evidence is absolutely critical.
Next, Prosecutor Gaylord should have immediately called for an outside investigation and requested that the Attorney General or Washington State Patrol undertake a full investigation into the facts.
Finally, Prosecutor Gaylord should have unequivocally stated that he could no longer represent Sheriff Krebs on this issue and should have encouraged the Sheriff to employ an outside attorney. This was essential because it was evident that a very serious conflict of interest may have arisen between the Prosecutor’s clients.
By statute, the Prosecutor represents the State in criminal matters, the County as a body politic in civil matters, and the elected county officials in their official capacity. The State wants a clean conviction and the County wants to limit liability. Those interests are not adverse. However, the potential problem occurs if and when Sheriff Krebs confides to the Prosecutor and gives him information that is at odds with the interests of his other clients. Then, he cannot undertake simultaneous representation. The conflict today is particularly pronounced because of the Prosecutor’s demonstrated unwillingness to investigate Sheriff Krebs for his false statements to the County Council on January 24, 2017 or refer that matter out for outside investigation.
This past weekend, I wrote Prosecutor Gaylord and requested that he consider taking the three actions described above. He has not responded. Join me in asking Prosecutor Gaylord to take these essential steps.
Very truly yours,
Nicholas E. D. Power