Golik cleared of misconduct allegations

Judge rules Constance's rights weren't violated

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

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In a long-awaited decision, a Clark County judge has struck down prosecutorial misconduct allegations made against Tony Golik during his 2010 campaign to become Clark County's top prosecutor.

The judge did reverse one of the four charges against Dino Constance, who had been convicted for attempting to hire a hit man to kill his wife. But because it was a less serious charge — trying to solicit someone to assault his wife — it will have minimal affect on his sentence.

The allegations made by Constance became entwined in the prosecuting attorney race. In the weeks leading up to the election, Golik's opponent, Brent Boger, had made Constance's appeal one of the focal points of his campaign.

In 2008, a jury convicted Constance, 52, of trying to solicit four men to kill or assault his ex-wife. He was sentenced to 53 years in prison. The reason for the lengthy sentence was that the four solicitations were counted as separate acts, as they occurred at different times and involved different people.

His conviction was upheld by the state Court of Appeals.

One of Constance's persistent allegations has been that Golik, who handled Constance's case as a deputy prosecutor in the office's major crimes unit, withheld evidence from Brian Walker, who was Constance's trial attorney. Constance also alleges that Walker did not provide adequate representation.

After a two-part hearing last fall and this spring, Clark County Superior Court Judge Robert Lewis issued a 62-page written decision on Wednesday, upholding Constance's murder-for-hire conviction.

Responding to several claims against Golik, the judge wrote: "The state did not violate the defendant's right to due process" in regard to how the prosecutor handled evidence.

The judge did, however, reverse one of the charges against Constance, a solicitation to commit second-degree assault charge, and ordered a new trial on that count. However, that decision only reduces Constance's sentence by about one year.

"It was never the centerpiece of this case by any means," Golik said.

Golik said he's unsure whether to retry that charge.

Regarding the assault charge, the judge found certain evidence wasn't disclosed by an investigator. Sheriff's Detective John O'Mara did not write in his police report that one of the witnesses had requested help in obtaining a no-contact order against Constance, according to the opinion. O'Mara had told the witness the order could be handled after the witness testified.

"The information was admissible for impeachment purposes to establish (the witness) had a motive for providing evidence against Constance, and to contradict testimony that indicated he did not have a motive," Lewis wrote.

The judge set a hearing for Sept. 21 for the state to decide how to move forward on the assault charge.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts;www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker;laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.