You Win Some, You Lose Some

Every summer the National District Attorney’s Association (NDAA) holds a week-long conference during which elected and deputy prosecutors from around the country commune with each other and have much-needed fellowship.

I was born in southern California but I’m proud of Oregon where I’ve lived 44 of my 54 years, and particularly of Astoria, and had been wanting to bring the conference here, or as close to here as has great conference facilities for 300 people and their families. I’ve been pitching Portland and specifically the Portland Downtown Hilton -- it’s a good union hotel -- so first I found that it was available during the already-scheduled conference time and suggested they make a proposal, and for the first time in 57 years of meetings the NDAA met in Oregon.

On Saturday night the Oregon DA’s Association (ODAA; they have no website) hosted a welcome reception at the Red Star Tavern in downtown Portland, with the festivities punctuated by delightful welcomes from the current ODAA President, John Foote (Clackamas), long-time Multnomah County DA and the dean of Oregon prosecutors Mike Schrunk, and State Senator Betsy Johnson, who co-sponsored the event. Betsy fondly calls me “the DA from Hell.”

A couple years ago I decided to run for President of the NDAA, having served three years as a vice president (there are several vice presidents and you do not automatically move up in the ranks). There was another contender, State’s Attorney Joe Cassilly of Harford County, Maryland.

Joe served as Treasurer during a rough patch for our organization, and oversight of the organization was his campaign theme. I promised to continue to speak out on behalf of America’s prosecutors, continuing to educate the public about the reality of the justice system and knocking down the myths created by popular culture.

At the election last Sunday I lost -- or more appropriately, Joe Cassilly won.

People how ask why I lost. Because Joe got more votes.

How many? Don’t know. It’s secret.

What could I have done differently? I’d have gotten more votes.

We are all friends with our brother and sister prosecutors at NDAA. I remain on the Board of Directors and will continue to serve as Chair of our Media and Communications Committee.