Deputy Prosecutor Haskell Running for County Prosecutor

By Steve Jackson

Last week, we introduced you to a private attorney who is running for Spokane county prosecutor. This week, we take a look at his opponent, the current Deputy Prosecutor for the county.
Larry Haskell has worked in the county prosecutors office since 1998, minus a three year stint in the Air Force following 9-11. He also spent a year working in the US attorney’s office in Spokane, working as an assistant US attorney.
Haskell points to that background as a reason why he is already qualified to hold the position of the new county prosecutor. He contrasts his experience with that of his opponent Breann Beggs, who Haskell says has mostly worked as a civil rights, and personal injury lawyer.
Haskell: “Mr. Beggs work on the periphery of the criminal justice system, and I think he does good work, where he doesn’t have the expertise is the criminal justice system. I have 13 years of that experience. I can step into the job on first day, and my learning curve will be less steep, because I have less to learn.”

In contrast with his opponent, Haskell does not believe there are easy answers for reducing the overcapacity in the Spokane County jail. Breann Beggs says because 83 percent of the jail inmates are actually awaiting trial, more inmates should be released on an electronic home monitoring program.
Haskell disagrees. He says "home monitoring is not a panacea". "There a lot of people that can commit crimes out of their homes, people can deal dope, and be the fence with a bracelet on, that sort of thing,” says Haskell.
Haskell also believes that his opponents’ notoriety as the attorney for Otto Zehm, coupled with his advocacy for independent oversight of the police department, may put him at a disadvantage if he were elected County Prosecutor.
Haskell: “For Mr. Beggs, he’s made a point of showing kind of a cultural distrust of the police, and I think that's going to present him with some handicaps in earning their trust if he were elected.
Haskell says he believes the Otto Zehm case showed definite problems in the Spokane Police Department, but that fixes, like the creation of the Use of Force Commission, are helping to correct that situation.

On the topic of police oversight, Beggs has stated that in the case of a law enforcement type of shooting death, he might opt to use a state law that says the county prosecutor can call in the state attorney general's office, and let them decide where there is criminal conduct. Haskell says that is a rarely used procedure.
Haskell: “It’s mainly designed, for those instances where a local prosecutor can’t prosecute because of poetical concerns or in large county with a capital murder case where their budget might be eaten up five times over by the mere proceedings that you have to go through.”
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