More than a year after the Del Norte District Attorney's Office made state headlines for employing the first sitting DA to be recommended for disbarment, the office is now looking to the future with Tuesday's election of local attorney and Del Norte County public defender Dale Trigg.
Trigg beat out his opponent, former Del Norte DA Bob Drossel, by 585 votes, garnering 56 percent of the vote.
"I'm really honored to have the voters' confidence. I'm very excited and thankful for all of my supporters, and I'm ready to get to work," Trigg said Tuesday night.
Trigg attributed his success to "overwhelming law enforcement support" and that "a lot of people really wanted someone with a fresh perspective - I think that idea got a lot of traction with the voters," Trigg said. "I'm going to work as hard as I can and do the job to the best of my abilities."
Drossel was "obviously disappointed" with the results but said that "life goes on."
"I certainly want to thank everyone who voted for me, believed in me and helped me in the selection, and I congratulate Mr. Trigg for the win," Drossel said.
Into office early
Considering the current, tenuous situation of Del Norte's DA post, the county Board of Supervisors may appoint Trigg to the DA position as soon as this month, even though DA-elects are usually sworn in in January.
Del Norte County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina said that with two current public defenders running for public office, Trigg being one of the them, the county's legal counsel, public defenders, and DA office had already been researching what legal actions would be necessary if Trigg was elected to office.
The county is going to start planning for the withdrawal of Trigg from the public defender contract and determine what obligations Trigg has to fulfill to his clients as a public defender and as an attorney with a local private practice before assuming office.
"We have to look at a lot of different scenarios that could take place in order for this to work," Sarina said, adding that the county will look into what approaches the state Attorney General might make for this scenario. "We're putting all the steps in place to make it work correctly."
Sarina said that he expects county staff will be able to present the Board of Supervisors with an option of appointing Trigg as soon as the June 24 board meeting.
'Great leader for the office'
Acting DA Katie Micks, who chose not to run for the position, said she has enjoyed her position as acting DA. She felt like the office ran smoothly, but she looks forward to working with Trigg.
"I've enjoyed working with him as a public defender, and I think he'll be a great leader for the office," Micks said. "I think he'll bring a lot of stability to this office."
When asked about Drossel's campaign criticisms about Trigg not having enough managerial, personal, or budget experience to run the DA office, Micks said: "I don't think that he will have any trouble being able to do that job at all."
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