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News / Clark County News

Golik, Boger not pulling punches in prosecutor race

Competitors trade criticism; accusation of misconduct refuted

By Laura McVicker
Published: October 14, 2010, 12:00am

They’ve fought relentlessly over what it means to be the county’s top prosecuting attorney, thrown barbs at each other about their respective experience, and enlisted starkly different supporters.

Brent Boger

Republican

o Age: 53.

o Residence: Washougal.

o Experience: Twenty-five years as an attorney in civil practice, handling business, environmental, personal injury and products liability litigation. Also a Vancouver senior assistant city attorney.

o Key issues: He wants to increase felony crime filings, prosecute more white-collar crimes and decrease the number of specialization units in the office.

o Money raised: $40,023.

o Quote: “I am the outside candidate and will look out for the public interest over the special interest involved in the criminal justice system.”

Brent Boger

Republican

o Age: 53.

o Residence: Washougal.

o Experience: Twenty-five years as an attorney in civil practice, handling business, environmental, personal injury and products liability litigation. Also a Vancouver senior assistant city attorney.

o Key issues: He wants to increase felony crime filings, prosecute more white-collar crimes and decrease the number of specialization units in the office.

o Money raised: $40,023.

o Quote: "I am the outside candidate and will look out for the public interest over the special interest involved in the criminal justice system."

Tony Golik

Democrat

o Age: 43.

o Residence: Battle Ground.

o Experience: Five years as a deputy prosecutor for Spokane County and 10 years as a deputy prosecutor for Clark County, including six years in the major crimes unit.

o Key issues: He believes an experienced criminal trial lawyer should lead the office. He plans to establish an elder abuse unit to keep up with a growing number of those crimes and continue to vigorously prosecute domestic violence and gang cases.

o Money raised: $60,963.

o Quote: "It takes a prosecutor to be the prosecutor."

Tony Golik

Democrat

o Age: 43.

o Residence: Battle Ground.

o Experience: Five years as a deputy prosecutor for Spokane County and 10 years as a deputy prosecutor for Clark County, including six years in the major crimes unit.

o Key issues: He believes an experienced criminal trial lawyer should lead the office. He plans to establish an elder abuse unit to keep up with a growing number of those crimes and continue to vigorously prosecute domestic violence and gang cases.

o Money raised: $60,963.

o Quote: “It takes a prosecutor to be the prosecutor.”

Now, Tony Golik and Brent Boger are within weeks of a showdown. The winner of the Nov. 2 general election for prosecuting attorney will reflect the candidate whose message resonates the most with voters.

The top vote-getter also will represent a significant changing of the guard: He will replace Prosecuting Attorney Art Curtis, who is stepping down after 29 years.

Endorsed by Curtis, Democrat Golik, a 15-year veteran prosecutor currently assigned to the major crimes unit, has campaigned chiefly on his courtroom experience: He’s handled some of the county’s most high-profile criminal cases and has garnered support from every law enforcement agency in Clark County.

He’s aggressively criticized his opponent’s lack of experience in that field.

Boger, a Vancouver senior assistant city attorney, has touted the diversity of his legal background and his popularity in the Republican Party, picking up endorsements from well-known politicians such as former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton and Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna.

He calls Golik the status quo candidate.

Close race expected

August’s primary election results predict a close race. Golik had nearly 49 percent of the votes and Boger came in second with 43.5 percent. Eliminated was Washougal defense attorney George Kolin, who captured less than 8 percent of the votes.

Since trailing behind in the primary, Boger has amped up his campaigning, raising $40,023 from supporters, though still behind Golik’s $60,963. He says he’s changed his campaign strategy from trying to emphasize the civil duties of the office — which he said has experience in and Golik doesn’t — to criticizing how the office runs.

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“My original focus of the campaign was to show that the prosecutor handles all the county’s legal affairs. I don’t think that’s sunk in that well with the public,” Boger said. “Now, I’m focusing on the criminal side. I don’t think the office has done that well in the management system as it should.”

The prosecuting attorney, in charge of prosecuting crimes and handling the county’s civil litigation, supervises 40 deputy prosecutors, including 33 criminal lawyers and seven civil lawyers. The position pays $148,832 a year.

Ballots were mailed this week.

Nasty campaigning

The campaign has turned nasty at times. Wednesday was the latest example of that, when the Republican Party sent out a press release alleging prosecutorial misconduct against Golik in a 2008 murder-for-hire trial that the deputy prosecutor won.

The allegations relate to a pending appeal by defendant Dino Constance, who is not only claiming his defense attorney did a poor job representing him, but also that Golik did not disclose certain information at trial.

Constance has already unsuccessfully tried to appeal his conviction twice on different grounds.

Golik on Wednesday refuted the allegations, saying it’s very common for a defendant to make a claim against a prosecutor when appealing a case. Asked how many of his fellow deputy prosecutors have been accused of misconduct, Golik said: “All of them.”

“Almost every defendant convicted of a crime of this nature appeals and argues some inappropriate action by the state,” he said. “Now my opponent is becoming an advocate of Dino Constance? I think it’s a desperate act.”

Felony charges

In criticizing Golik further, Boger said the number of felony charges filed by the office has declined 28 percent over the past five years — even while the community has grown.

He also doesn’t like how prosecutors’ case load is divided into speciality units instead of them handling a broad array of cases.

Those units, such as major crimes, general felonies and domestic violence, are in place for a reason, Golik countered. They give prosecutors the experience in specific guidelines of the law. That’s why, if elected, Golik wants to add another unit for elder abuse cases.

As for the number of felony filings, Golik cited statistics showing the number of referrals from law enforcement agencies has also declined about the same amount. However, Boger provided different statistics showing only a slight dip in referrals. But when questioned, Boger wouldn’t say where he got his statistics.

Golik said his opponent’s new tactics show he’s grasping at straws.

“My message has been the same since day one: It takes a prosecutor to be a prosecutor,” he said. But “my opponent has been searching for his message.”

Boger says this is his message: “I am the outside candidate and will look out for the public interest over the special interest involved in the criminal justice system.”

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