On Oct. 18, 2009, my sister was killed in a hit and run. This was the beginning of my family’s experience with the court system and the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s office. When Mary was killed, the county had an extremely high backlog of files. At the first court date, we were told that we would be met by a victims advocate coordinator. As we came into the courtroom there was nobody there to meet us.
We were grieving from our loss, seeing the person who killed her for the first time, not understanding what was happening in the courtroom and let down by the lack of support from the prosecuting attorney’s office during the most emotional and vulnerable time of our lives. Over the next five years, we had many court dates come and go as the backlog was still unreasonably high. Mary’s case had clearly become another case file in a never-ending stack of files.
The case was finally closed just before Mark Nichols started his first term. I hope nobody else has to go through what we went through. Because of our experience I have sought out many conversations with Mark. We have discussed the importance of the victim’s advocate, crime on the West End and the importance of reducing the case file backlog and improving efficiency in order to give all parties involved the right to a speedy trial. During Mark Nichols first term, there has been a complete overhaul of the victims advocate coordinator position.
This person is now better trained to communicate and help victims and their families as they deal with difficult situations. The case workload has been dramatically reduced by streamlining processes and training local law enforcement to provide what the courts require for a solid case. Mark spends much of his free time on the West End and I’m confident he cares about the people of our area, which is not always the case with county positions. As we approach the upcoming election, I hope you will join me in voting for Mark Nichols as the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney.