After an hour of testimony and discussion, the Juneau County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution officially expressing lack of confidence in District Attorney Michael Solovey, requesting him to resign his position. Tuesday’s vote was 17-0 in favor of the resolution with four supervisors absent.
Juneau County Corporation Counsel David Lasker said state statute gives the county board the authority to make such a resolution.
According to Lasker, the county has been receiving employee complaints about Solovey since early 2014. He read two letters, one from the Juneau County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and one from county police chiefs and Juneau County Sheriff Brent Oleson, claiming Solovey has lacked the competence to properly prosecute crimes in the past three years.
Oleson, who was one of three people to speak in favor of the resolution, rebutted the notion that the resolution was politically motivated. “There have been issues up in the District Attorney’s office since District Attorney Solovey has taken over. We’ve tried to address those issues, as groups of law enforcement and as individuals,” said Oleson. “The driving force behind this is the district attorney himself and his action or inaction to try cases that are presented to him.”
Scott Jennings, President of the Juneau County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, told the board Solovey has “failed miserably” in prosecuting crimes.
Solovey defended himself and explained why some cases weren’t being prosecuted. He said there’s always going be some tension between local law enforcement and the D.A. because they come from two different worlds.
“Law enforcement lives in a probable cause world, they investigate; they arrest; they suggest and refer charges,” said Solovey. “A district attorney lives in a ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ world. It’s all the difference in the world. I have to deal with laws, facts, rules of ethics, rules of evidence, jury decisions. I have to have the entire picture.”
Solovey also submitted names and contact information of attorneys he has worked with, who he stateted are in the best position to comment on his competency and reputation as a district attorney. The vote is only a recommendation and Solovey will not be relieved of his job. Solovey has already announced his candidacy for the position in the fall election.