AG drops charge against Garvison

first_imgAt the request of the Skamania County Board of Commissioners, the state attorney general’s office has dropped a charge of official misconduct against former county auditor J. Michael Garvison. However, the charge is likely to be renewed early next year.Garvison was charged with the crime, a gross misdemeanor, for allegedly running up tens of thousands of dollars of unauthorized expenditures for travel, college tuition and office equipment during his tenure as Skamania County’s elected auditor. “The new prosecuting attorney-elect, Adam Kick, will be taking over the case after he takes office,” Commissioner Paul Pearce said last week. The three commissioners, unhappy with the plea bargain negotiated between Garvison’s attorney and the attorney general’s office, voted unanimously Nov. 2 to ask the state to return the case to the county.They noted that a new county prosecuting attorney will be free of the conflict of interest that prompted the current prosecuting attorney, Peter Banks, to refer the case to the state attorney general’s office. Banks, who was defeated for re-election in the August primary, routinely provided legal advice to the auditor’s office during Garvison’s tenure.“We do not have any additional role in the Garvison case,” Assistant Attorney General Scott Marlow told The Columbian last week. “The attorney general’s office in Washington state has very limited criminal jurisdiction. We have to be invited in by the local prosecutor. In this case, that invitation was rescinded by the local prosecutor in Skamania County. So we are done with the case, we’ve turned our files over to Skamania County, and we wish them the best of luck in pursuing the matter.”last_img

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