Ore. State Bar clears Deschutes DA Flaherty
Decision 'puts to rest baseless allegations'
The Oregon State Bar has found that Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty did not violate state rules of professional conduct last year in calling a grand jury to investigate the release of personal information about employees in his ofice.
Flaherty attached the OSB's brief letter stating that decision to a news release (the full text of which is below).
In the letter, Susan Roedl Cournoyer, the state bar's assistant disciplinary counsel, said the State Professional Responsibility Board met Saturday and reviewed two matters involving Flaherty's conduct: an anonymous complaint received in March of 2011 and information provided by attorneys Dave Frohnmayer and William Gary on behalf of Deschutes County commissioners.
"After carefully considering all of the materials submitted in this matter, the board found no violation of the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct by Mr. Flaherty," Cournoyer said in a letter dated Monday and sent to Flaherty, Frohnmayer and Gary. She added that the file is now closed.
In March, an investigation by the Oregon State Police and Washington County District Attorney’s Office also found Flaherty had committed no crime by calling a grand jury investigation looking into Deschutes County legal counsel Mark Pilliod’s release of public documents.
The dispute erupted early last year, after Flaherty took office and replaced several long-standing employees, resulting in bar complaints and lawsuits, one filed against Flaherty by by Pilliod, who released personal information on county prosecutors in response to a public-records request by The Bulletin.
Flaherty convened a grand jury and subpoenaed employees and a reporter to investigate the matter, but no charges were filed.
Here's the text of Flaherty's news release issued Thursday:
As District Attorney for Deschutes County I make it my priority to review allegations of criminal conduct carefully. I know, all too well, the damage that can be done when false or meritless accusations are leveled against an individual.
This is one reason why grand jury investigations are by law secret and why criminal investigations are generally not disclosed to the public unless the evidence supports the filing of criminal charges.
Despite such concepts as the presumption of innocence, when allegations are made judgments are leveled in the court of public opinion. While one must trust that under our system the truth will come out, often public judgments, once leveled, are impossible to reverse.
Yesterday I was notified that the Oregon State Bar Professional Responsibility Board reviewed the anonymous complaint and the complaint filed against me on behalf of the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners. The board found that I had committed no violation of the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct.
This finally puts to rest baseless allegations that have been pending for almost a year and a half.
While I am grateful that the matter has concluded so favorably for me personally, I am aware that the extremely long wait for justice to occur has caused harm to the Office of District Attorney and those who work so hard in my office to uphold the law and the trust of the public.
We look forward to focusing on our goal of doing justice on behalf of the citizens of our community, and appreciate all the support that you have shown during this challenging time.
Copyright 2012 KTVZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.