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New Kal. Co. prosecutor walks into new set of problems
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A unique challenge in the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's office could slow some court cases.
The new Prosecutor, who just took office in January, and one of his Assistant Prosecutors are both former defense attorneys, which means conflicts of interest are more likely to arise when handling cases.
In essence, it means that sometimes the County Prosecutor is asked to prosecute people he once defended, which can create a bit of a sticky situation.
The county is still working on how to deal with it.
County Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting was a criminal defense attorney for 14 years, but his election to the post in November created some difficulties.
Getting says when he took office, there were two open cases where he was the defense attorney.
"A petition was done to the State Attorney General's office asking that a special prosecutor be appointed to handle those cases," Getting said.
Going forward, there could be other cases Getting can't take on.
"Not every case where I was previously the attorney of record are we automatically disqualified," Getting explained.
It does mean more paperwork, though.
"We've developed a conflict waiver form that the courts are using in those cases," he said.
But if the person refuses to sign it, then it requires another petition to the State Attorney General's office, which could cause a slow-down in processing.
"We may be causing there to be a slight delay, a one week, two week kind of delay," Getting said.
Getting's office says that since January 1st, they've used the form about seven times, but so far, no one has refused to sign it.
While it is a unique situation, Getting said it has happened in other counties, so it is not unheard of.
It just hasn't happened in Kalamazoo County in recent history.