Clallam judge to subpoena prosecutor's mother's book manuscript

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The 89-year-old mother of Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Deb Kelly will be ordered to turn over a copy of a book manuscript that is central to an effort to throw her daughter off the case against accused double-murderer Darold Stenson.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge S. Brooke Taylor will issue a subpoena Monday mandating that Sunshine Snyder of Maryland turn over the unpublished manuscript about Stenson's first trial in 1993, Taylor said Friday.

The hearing Friday was “hastily called,” he said, because of Stenson's impending Sept. 16 trial in Port Orchard and “a serious matter.”

Defense's motion

Kelly, the county prosecuting attorney for Stenson's second trial on charges of aggravated murder, should be disqualified from trying the case because she lacks impartiality and has a conflict of interest, according to a motion filed Thursday by Stenson attorney Blake Kremer.

The motion will be argued at a 2 p.m. hearing Tuesday in Superior Court.

Kremer said Kelly did not disclose the existence of the manuscript until she wrote an Aug. 27 letter to Stenson's lead attorney Roger Hunko that “this manuscript may be something you wish to pursue.”

Kelly told Kremer in an email that she had convinced her mother to turn over the manuscript but that when Snyder learned Stenson's lawyers were sending an investigator to interview her, she refused to talk to the investigator and refused to turn it over.

Kelly also did not provide contact information for Snyder and would not sign an order that would have forced her to turn over the manuscript and be deposed by Stenson's lawyer, Kremer said.

'Opened the door'

The issue of the manuscript “is at the center of the defense motion,” Taylor said.

“I am not giving this motion any credence or credibility at this point at all, but it raises a serious issue that needs to be explored.”

Kelly's letter to Hunko “opened the door” to examining the manuscript, Taylor said.

“I don't think from what I've read that you had any connection to this manuscript, but that remains to be seen.”

Kelly told Taylor it is “sheer speculation” for Stenson's lawyers to assert that there is anything material in the manuscript and had assumed they knew her mother had written the manuscript because of their interviews of people connected to Stenson's first trial.

“I was trying to accelerate the revelation of this issue if indeed it was one,” she said of her Aug. 27 letter.

Prosecutor: 'Non-issue'

Kelly called the manuscript “a non-issue” in her court-filed response to Kremer's motion.

Taylor said he hoped that Snyder could be convinced by Kelly's sister to allow the manuscript to be copied and turned over to the court.

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 08. 2013 12:19AM
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