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Jefferson County Prosecutor and Coroner

The county prosecuting attorney is the lawyer for the people of the County. The main responsibility is to enforce criminal laws and work for the victims of crime. The prosecuting attorney also acts as legal counsel to the County elected officials and county departments, assists in certain child support cases, and performs a number of other duties.The county coroner is responsible for conducting death investigations, including inquests. While not common, the county coroner is also authorized by law to serve as the County Sheriff under certain conditions.

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    James M. Kennedy

Biographical Information

What is your record of public service?

What do you see as the top three issues facing the justice system in your county?

How will you address the one issue you believe is the most important?

How do you plan on interacting with the citizens of your county?

How will you balance enforcement of federal, state and local laws that may not be consistent with each other?

How will you ensure equal application of the law to the citizens of your county?

Party Preference Democratic Party
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Experience (Max 500 characters) I have served as your Prosecuting Attorney and Coroner for the past 3.5 years. Prior to that I worked as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Clallam, Jefferson, and Yakima Counties; where I have experience prosecuting all manner of criminal offenses and have argued cases on appeal all the way up to the Washington State Supreme Court. Prior to becoming an attorney I was an officer in the United States Army for nearly 6 years and completed two tours in Iraq.
Campaign Mailing Address PO Box 1982
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Town where you live Port Ludlow, WA
I have spent my entire adult life in public service. After graduating from college I was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army where I served for nearly six years including two tours in Iraq. After the Army I attended law school, became a licensed attorney and have worked for three different county prosecutor offices in Washington, Yakima, Clallam, and Jefferson.
Helping people with drug addiction find sobriety and rebuild their lives. Drugs drive the vast majority of our crime and are also a leading cause of deaths in Jefferson County.

Helping people with serious mental health afflictions find the treatment that they need and navigating these people away from the criminal justice system.

Increasing the safety of our highways. Jefferson County for the most part is not a dangerous place to live, but our roads are a different story where accidents are common and frequently severe. Impaired and distracted driving are leading causes of accidents in Jefferson County.
Our Therapeutic Courts (Drug Court and Behavioral Health Court) are the front line for treating drug addiction and mental health in Jefferson County. They represent our best programs for combating addiction and mental health.

These courts operate independently and do not take advantage of each other’s programs. I have been working with the county administration as well as other departments within the county to create a new Therapeutic Court Administrator position that will hopefully be staffed next year. My hope is that this position will be able to breathe new life into the programs and increase both short and long term success rates for those who suffer from addiction and mental illness.

With respect to our highways I believe in working closely with law enforcement to ensure that impaired driving cases are properly and thoroughly investigated so we can have successful court outcomes that include supervision by our probation department that is focused on treating addiction
I have an open door policy and am available to meet with any citizen of Jefferson County. I am also frequently contacted via email and phone by citizens of the County who share their concerns with me. In nearly all cases, I respond to these communications because it is important to me that I remain accessible to the people of Jefferson County.
I do not enforce Federal Law and where State and local law contradict each other State generally law prevails, per State law. That said, we strive to avoid conflicts in laws and advise our county clients to adopt laws and rules which do not conflict with either State or Federal law.
The only considerations we take in formulating a charging decision are the facts and the law. It is extremely important to me personally that everyone in Jefferson County believe that they have equal protection of and access to the law. This includes an active practice of Trauma Informed Prosecution by a staff of culturally competent attorneys who are sensitive to the persons impacted by their decisions. This has been the practice of the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for the past three and a half years and will continue to be our practice into the future.