Gary seeks prosecutor spot

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Holding office was never on Donald Gary's radar before he filed candidacy for Kootenai County prosecuting attorney, he admitted.

But the Post Falls attorney considers his campaign a civic duty, he said, on account of the issues he believes must be redressed at the prosecutor's office.

"I have children, we all have children, and I believe somebody needs to do something," said Gary, 56, a principal and board member at Winston and Cashatt, Lawyers.

Gary, an attorney for 20 years, said topping his list after election would be reducing prosecutorial misconduct.

He alluded to the initial sentencing of Jonathan Ellington, which was thrown out over misconduct involving improper questioning by a county prosecutor.

"How do you address that?" Gary said. "First, you can't tolerate it."

He would aim at improving prosecution by improving training for newer attorneys, he said, as well as building communication with defense attorneys.

He also plans to keep a closer eye on day-to-day office behavior.

"I will have a different management style, and rely on senior prosecutors to work with junior prosecutors to hold everyone to the highest standard of professionalism," Gary said. "You have to make sure everyone gets a fair trial."

Gary said he is also dubious of the number of cases the prosecutor's office refers to other counties.

Many, like the trial of county employee Sandy Martinson who was caught embezzling, could have been legally tried in Kootenai County, Gary contends.

"In these cases, it seems as though political considerations are driving the conflict analysis," he said. "We need to keep our work at home."

Sometimes the law takes attorneys down a path they don't want to go, he added, but he promised to follow evidence where it leads.

"If there is politically embarrassing consequences, then there is," he said. "Sometimes you have to fight and take whatever comes."

He would also strive to keep county attorneys maintaining a professional attitude in the courtroom, he said.

"All I'm looking to do is make this office work for the best interest of the people," he said.

Gary, originally from Baltimore, Md., had an earlier career as a licensed CPA. While working full-time and raising a family, he said, he attended law school at night.

Gary is a graduate of Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, and was previously principal in his own firm, which had offices in Spokane and Southern California.

"I've obviously had experience with managing organizations," Gary said.

His has two grown sons with his wife of 30 years, Kathy.

Gary assured he would approach the prosecutor's office with an independent perspective and focus on professional conduct.

"I will do what I think is right, no matter the consequences," he said.

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