In November 2014, the voters of Jefferson County, Washinton, elected me their Prosecuting Attorney. I am grateful and humbled by the trust placed in me.
The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney carries with it many responsibilities. Most widely known is the obligation to prosecute felony, juvenile and misdemeanor cases. Felony cases include anything from the theft of a laptop computer to aggravated murder where the only two possible outcomes are life in prison or execution. Juvenile offenses tend to involve alcohol, damage to property and break-ins although much more serious charges are possible. Misdemeanor offenses frequently I nclude DUIs, domestic violence assaults and lesser property crimes such as shoplifting. A vast majority of cases involve drugs, the drug known as alcohol or mental health issues or some combination thereof.
Although most cases are resolved through settlement, our Office tries cases in the District and Superior Court and convictions will be defended on appeal to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. In extremely rare cases that could include the U.S. Supreme Court.
Our office utilizes a variety of tools to resolve approximately 1600 cases per year. Some people will go to prison. Others are appropriate for therapeutic courts such as drug court and mental health court. Other cases result in diversions or continuances for reduction of charges where the offender has little or no criminal history and public safety issues are thoroughly addressed. Others will serve a jail sentence, serve time on electronic home monitoring or perform community service or pay fines. In all scenarios, community safety, what serves the victim and what is best for the offender in terms of punishment or treatment designed to reduce recidivism - will be evaluated. Where drug court or mental health court are concerned, a team of experts will be involved in the evaluation process.
In addition to criminal prosecutions, the Office also provides services to crime victims through a Crime Victims' Coordinator. These services include letting crime victims know their rights under Washington's statutes, letting them know court dates, sitting with them during interviews with defense attorneys and in court hearings, and helping them access financial services for things such as counseling and restitution.
The Office also handles child support enforcement matters. Washington State is among the top states in terms of collecting child support and yet we only collect about 50 cents on the dollar. The Office runs an aggressive program for getting absent parents to comply with their court-ordered child support obligations - or face contempt of court proceedings.
The Office serves as civil legal counsel for all County departments and boards. If you think of the County as a corporation we are essentially corporate counsel for the County - with one complicating factor, this "corporation" can make laws, condemn private property, seize assets and impose taxes. The duties of the civil prosecutor can be as routine as providing input on an employee issue to providing advice to County Commissioners on critical ordinances and then defending the legitimacy of those ordinances at the trial court level on up to the Supreme Court.
The Office also represents the school districts in Jefferson County in truancy matters. We are also involved in mental health commitment procedings.
In small counties in Washington State with less than 40,000 people the Prosecuting Attorney also serves as the County Coroner. Thanks to a very good working relationship with the Sheriff's Office all deputy sheriff's are also deputy coroners. That said, myself and my deputy prosecutors will respond to all complex cases where foul play may have occurred and coroner calls within the City of Port Townsend 24/7/365. The role of the coroner is to determine cause and manner of death. We frequently work with a pathologist who performs autopsies at our direction. This work takes us out the courtroom fairly frequently. As I write this on a three day weekend, one of my deputies responded to a coroner call at the BoatHaven Saturday. He and I then attended two autopsies Sunday.
As Prosecuting Attorney my deputy prosecutors and myself serve on a number of teams - risk management, Juvenile Offender Information Network, mental health court, drug court, TOPSIDE court for juveniles, a domestic violence team, child abuse team, etc. Involvement in these groups provides for better communications in the event of a critical incident, they provide training, they act as a sounding board for complex cases needing real world solutions and they are a source of expertise within the law and justice community. Finally, these various teams and groups provide an incubator for the birth of fresh ideas that lead to the creation of such things as drug court and mental health court and other programs that lead to a healthier community.
Finally as one of 39 prosecuting attorneys in Washington State I am in a unique position to influence law and justice legislation so it reflects our community values.
Licensed since 1988
If there is a needle in the haystack that will win your case, Michael Haas does not stop until he finds it. Attorney Haas is an excellent defense attorney who excels at pre-trial litigation. Wouldn't you rather have your case dismissed on that needle Mr. Haas found, than risk going to trial? Mr. Haas is THAT lawyer. Give him a call.
Billie Morelli Criminal Defense Attorney
Relationship: Worked together on matter
|Award Name||Grantor||Date Granted|
|Graduate||National Advocacy Center||N/A|
|Prosecuting Attorney||Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office||2015 - Present|
|Partner||Haas & Ramirez, P.S.||2007 - 2014|
|Association Name||Position Name||Duration|
|Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys||Member||2015 - Present|
|Jefferson County Farmers' Market||Board of Directors||2014 - Present|
|JC MASH||Board of Directors||2014 - Present|
|Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers||Member||N/A|
|Washington Defender Association||Member||N/A|
|Jefferson County Bar Association||Past President||N/A|
|Mason County Deputy Prosecutors' Association||Chief Negotiator||N/A|
|Haines Police Reserves||Past President||N/A|
|Washington State Appellate Reports||State ex rel. McMichael v. Fox, 132 Wn.2d 346, 937 P.2d 1075 (1997)||N/A|
|Washington State Appellate Reports||State v. Robinson, 114 Wn. App. 800, 60 P.3d 1221 (2003)||N/A|
|Washington State Appellate Reports||State v. Smith, 148 Wn.2d 122, 59 P.3d 74 (2002)||N/A|
|Washington State Appellate Reports||State v. Swenson, 150 Wn.2d 181, 75 P.3d 513 (2003)||N/A|
|California Western School of Law||Law||Juris Doctorate||1987|
|Willamette University||History & American Studies||Bachelor of Arts||1983|
|Criminal and Civil Prosecutor Trainings||DNA Evidence, New Prosecutor Training, etc||N/A|