Alleged 'office romance' could put Snohomish Co. case in jeopardy

(Credit: KING)
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A juvenile court case in Snohomish County is under scrutiny, and questions are being raised about other cases, too, after an alleged romantic relationship was discovered between a probation officer and a deputy prosecuting attorney.

At Denney Juvenile Justice Center in Everett, a defense attorney wants her client's child molestation case thrown out, partly because of what is disclosed in a memo from Snohomish County's Prosecuting Attorney, Mark Roe.

The memo states "that since approximately November 2017, there has existed a personal, romantic relationship between the probation counselor assigned to this respondent's case, and the supervising attorney of the juvenile division of the prosecuting attorney's office that is prosecuting the case."

The defense attorney has filed a motion to dismiss the case. The attorney notes "it is an impossible task for defense counsel to explain to the 17-year-old respondent the fairness of the justice system and the court process after learning that the probation officer, assigned to give the court information as to what is appropriate punishment in her case, is in a sexual relationship with the person in charge of prosecuting her." 

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The prosecuting attorney's memo states they disclosed the relationship out of an abundance of caution, and “have no information or belief that the two people involved have ever discussed the respondent's case, nor altered any decisions or recommendation either made as a result of communication between them."

The deputy prosecutor is being rotated back to the main downtown prosecutors office to "alleviate any future appearance of a potential conflict of interest."

That does not satisfy the defense attorney who calls into question if there's been an independent review of all the cases the deputy prosecuting attorney and probation officer shared.

There will be a hearing in Snohomish County involving the case Tuesday morning.