Joshua Marquis has just started his 17th year as Clatsop County's top prosecutor and has filed to run for his fifth full term.
Appointed by then-Governor Barbara Roberts in 1994, Marquis won a contested race later that year. He was re-elected without opposition in 1998, 2002, 2006 and now in the 2010 election of May 18.
"I have never taken the job for granted," Marquis said after learning that he is un-opposed again. "I hope that means my constituents have high regard for the job the people in the DA's office are doing to make Clatsop County a safer place, which according to the latest state health benchmarks is true.
In anticipation of the election, Marquis purchased space in the State voter's pamphlet. He received endorsements from Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, Sheriff Tom Bergin, and Pat Burness, director of Clatsop County's Women's Resource Center.
The Clatsop County DA's office files hundreds of felony and misdemeanor cases each year. Most trials are handled by his six deputies, but Marquis enjoys the practice of law and appears for the State at jury trials on a fairly regular basis. Most days he takes the "one-fifteens," the hearings that begin at 1:15 p.m. each afternoon to address new cases, setting initial trial dates and conditions of bail. "It's a great opportunity to stay closely in touch with the office's workload and with community challenges."
Marquis also enjoys policy-making and considers it an important role, one that he claims a "luxury" because of his "outstanding staff," lead by Chief Deputy Ron Brown and Office Manager Lori Johnson. "The criminal justice system is almost continually under attack, from pop culture stereotypes to legislative impediments against sentencing, victims' rights and inadequate funding of public safety at the state level. There's always room for improving the system itself and also a great need to educate about the realities of law and order. Justice is a work in progress," Marquis said.
Marquis has a leadership role on the Executive Committee of the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) , was appointed last year to the Criminal Law Section of the American Bar Association, and serves on the board of directors of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. He is frequently asked to speak to prosecutors and law students, and to engage in debates with criminal defense colleagues. The NDAA just appointed Marquis as the United States delegate to the International Association of Prosecutors although
Marquis stressed that none of his out-of-state travel is paid for by county taxpayers.
Marquis maintains a website, coastda.com, at his own expense and with his wife's expertise. It includes commentaries on justice, the media, pop culture and the law, and an extensive archive of his published writings. One section, Ask The DA, gives people a chance to ask questions, anonymously if they wish, with the caveat that he can't and won't comment on pending cases or give specific legal advice. He's gotten questions from Seaside and from South Africa. His most frequent advice: "Do as Chris Rock says and 'O-bey the law!'"