LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Elect Ethan Knight as Multnomah County District Attorney
The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office is already the state's most progressive DA office. It does not need disruption or a disruptor as its next leader.
That was the tenor of a folksy endorsement in this paper of Mike Schmidt by Portland progressive and former Bernie Sanders campaign employee, Jessie Cornett.
I've been a practicing lawyer for 38 years and an East County resident for 33 years. I urge my fellow Multnomah County residents to vote for Ethan Knight as the next District Attorney.
Schmidt offers little in terms of experience and leadership and instead panders to a variety of sociological/political issues and causes that the District Attorney's office has no control over.
Schmidt, promising he will "stand up to Donald Trump" to prevent immigration officers from conducting their activities is a good example of that pandering as the DA's office has no legal control over the activities of federal law/immigration activities.
Schmidt pledges not to seek the death penalty if elected. Again, more pandering, and also a troubling inherent hypocrisy. It is the job of the District Attorney to enforce the law, not pledge that under no circumstance would his office "seek" a penalty provided by law.
A prosecutor does have a great deal of discretion in their office, but any candidate making such careless blanket promises as Schmidt does is unworthy of the office.
What other laws will he deem unworthy of enforcing because of his philosophical leanings and pandering?
His promise is also cheap and illusory given the sleight of hand of Schmidt's legislative cohorts in emasculating the penalties for murder which effectively repealed the death penalty.
The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office is the state's largest DA office with 200 employees, including 75 lawyers and 125 support staff, literally one of the state's biggest law firms. It has a long scandal free-history led by effective, innovative and highly respected elected DA's. The elected district attorney should have the support of his or her staff. Ethan Knight has that support and Schmidt does not.
Ethan Knight has the support of the law enforcement community and other first responder agencies in the county, and he has the overwhelming endorsement of the legal community who care very much about the reputation of the MCDA office.
Knight has spent his entire career as a prosecutor, first in Multnomah County and currently in the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Schmidt was a prosecutor for five years. Would a 200 employee law firm have a person with five years of experience leading it? Of course not.
If you care about the support of victims of crime and continuing the tradition of effective and innovative prosecution practices in Multnomah County, your vote should be for Ethan Knight.
Richard A. Weill
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.