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Jefferson Co. D.A. Says Office Lacks Staff, Funding

MADRAS, OR -- Jefferson County’s District Attorney is asking for more staff and better pay. Steve Leriche says his office has multiple murder cases on its schedule, but he told County Commissioners this week just one a year would be a lot for his staff.

And now, Chief Deputy D.A. Brentley Foster is resigning as the second in command, effective in a week. "The manslaughters, the rapes, the child sex abuse, the encouraging child sex abuse, those are all of my cases," Foster told Commissioners. She works long hours and frequently on weekends, "Over the last 10 years, this kind of schedule and this kind of caseload has taken a toll on my health."

Leriche says he needs his office fully staffed, "With the docket that’s been put forth before our office, thanks in part to the crime spree of ‘20 to 2022, this is a task that’s almost impossible. I don’t know how we’re going to do it." He believes it will be tough to replace Foster given the current pay scale and the skills required for the job. "To get someone to sign up to take a job that demands weekends and nights and long hours and then sometimes very little gratitude. Sometimes you’re the subject of scorn or hate." He told Commissioners he's even received threats, "Recently, I was advise that I had ruined someone else’s life and that my sons better watch out because ‘eye for an eye, [redacted]' sort of thing. That’s what we live with."

Leriche says he recently hired law students because the pool of candidates is so small, "We don’t get a lot of applicants. And that’s not just our story, it’s small D.A. offices throughout the state, and even some big ones. Being a D.A.’s not cool these days. The legal profession, people are choosing other routes than being D.A."

He's asking Commissioners to consider increasing his office's budget, so he can recruit and retain more staff. 

 

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