DA Too little trust to re-elect Wasley

Keywords: Politics,

This year’s district attorney race, although wildly entertaining, is not likely to serve the 22nd Judicial District especially well.

Incumbent DA Russell Wasley has won convictions, but he also has fumbled more than once, and not always on hard cases.He is responsible for some very troubling dismissals. He seems more effective at soliciting support than at running his office.

He seems to have difficulties with such basic administrative responsibilities as organization and attendance. Wasley has lost the confidence of law enforcement personnel and the support of members of his own staff. He has also lost the respect of the judiciary and has filed a lawsuit against county court judge Jennilynn Lawrence over her requirement that he complete further education about discovery requirements. Whatever the result, that decision will compromise his relationship with the court.

Wasley’s supporters should take those problems seriously.

But challenger Will Furse is hardly the ideal candidate. His lack of prosecutorial experience is far more troubling than his scant GOP credentials — a prosecutor’s job is hardly partisan — or his long-ago drug conviction. In interviews and forums, he says the right things, sometimes about topics that deserve considerably more attention than they often get locally, but voters have little evidence that he can accomplish his goals.

The value of experience lies in the lessons it teaches, though, and Wasley has not demonstrated an ability to learn from his experiences. He has had ample opportunity to prove himself to the corps of professional people involved in the local criminal justice system. The absence of their trust suggests that it’s time to give someone else a chance.