No charges to be filed against Sheriff's campaign manager

January 14th, 2005 - 5:26am


(Port Angeles) -- A Mason County Prosecutor has declined to pursue charges of intimidating a public servant against Sheriff's Joe Martin's campaign manager for last November's election. In October, Patty Morris was accused of intimidating Forks City Councilwoman Denise Graham by threatening to cut off county grant money to the City of Forks. Morris allegedly told Graham that Homeland Security grant dollars for Forks would be cut off if she continued to ask tough questions of Martin during the campaign and considered voting for Martin's opponent Soeren Paulsen. The comments allegedly were made in the parking lot at Forks High School after an October 12th debate between the two candidates. Mason County Deputy Prosecutor Monty Cobb said in a letter dated on December 20, 2004 that after a review of reports it did not appear the statement in question is directed at changing an official vote or action, only a personal vote. Cobb says he considered other possible charges such as official misconduct and found insufficient evidence to support other charges. Graham says Morris told her, "You need to rethink your vote on who you are going to vote for sheriff or I'm going to rethink the funding for Forks on OPSCAN. OPSCAN is a communications partnership involving 42 federal, state and local agencies coordinated by the Sheriff's Department. Graham relayed the comments to Forks Mayor Nedra Reed, who contacted the Forks Police Department. Clallam County Prosecutor Deb Kelly, who is married to a sheriff's deputy, referred the report to the Mason County Prosecutor's office to determine if it warranted criminal charges. Graham told the Forks Forum, "All you can do is say OK. You win some and you lose some." Graham was unaware of the decision and said, "I'm sorry we didn't prevail. It's something that needed to be taken care of." Mayor Reed says she was troubled that the City of Forks was not notified of the ruling in a timely manner. Sheriff Martin told the Forum that he always felt it was not appropriate to file those charges and says Morris is a lady of high integrity and honesty.



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