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Rural county's use of volunteer prosecutor raises eyebrows

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Posted at 12:13 PM, Jun 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-15 15:14:51-04

A small rural Arizona county has been using a volunteer prosecutor who says he's been trying numerous cases with virtually no supervision, drawing objections from defense attorneys and prompting an appeals court to order a review.

Defense attorneys say La Paz County Attorney Tony Rogers' appointment of James Schilder as a special deputy prosecutor needed approval by the county Board of Supervisors and that the unsupervised prosecutorial work puts defendants' due-process rights at risk.

Schilder says he works without pay because he's financially able to do so, because Rogers' office is underfunded and overworked and because he enjoys the work.

 

A state Court of Appeals ruling says it's commendable that Schilder is volunteering but that there needs to be accountability. It ordered a judge to re-examine the arrangement.