First of all, thank you to Alex Wittwer and to The Observer for reporting on the ethics complaint against District Attorney Kelsie McDaniel. The research for the front page story delivered the depth and detail that only good news sources can provide.

As I've followed the case and learned more, I've been left with a number of questions. Anne Morrison's examination of the actual transcripts were especially revealing. Judge Williams offered advice, before the actual trial, to both the prosecution and to the defense. What is it that the DA's office finds difficult to understand about that? Our judicial system is meant to be fair and impartial. And why are Union and Baker County district attorneys sidelining a working judge, someone who was duly elected? As a taxpayer, I take great offense at having any elected official pushed aside. With DA McDaniel on maternity leave, her office continues to sideline Judge Williams because they can, without having to even give a reason.

That brings me to the most important question I have. The DA's office has, according to the transcripts, itself been witness to the impartiality displayed in the courthouse. Despite that evidence the Oregon State Bar dismissed the complaint. In doing so they stated that attorney McDaniel only needed to perceive bias. So bias does not actually have to exist? This gets us into very deep psychological water I believe. It takes us from a judicial complaint to questions of political motivation. But that's exactly what the Oregon State Bar said was irrelevant even as their language highlights it.

I've been left scratching my head, and with the feeling that there's a lot of self-serving cynicism in these actions. The Oregon State Bar needs to seriously reconsider the approach of its Professional Responsibility Board. The idea of rubber-stamping a "nuclear option" with no repercussions because of inaccurate perceptions isn't a good one.

Norm Cimon

La Grande

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