By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Michele Devlin was introduced to county commissioners at their weekly meeting Tuesday.
“I’m really excited to serve Clallam County,” said Devlin, who earned a law degree from Gonzaga University in Spokane and has practiced law in Utah and Colorado over the past decade.
County Prosecuting Attorney William Payne hired Devlin to replace former felony deputy Paul Conroy, who resigned last month.
“She has worked extensively in criminal law, a little bit in family law,” Payne told commissioners.
“She has a lot of experience in complex cases, the type that we really need assistance [with] in our office.
“We’re excited to have her.”
Devlin joins fellow Clallam County felony deputies Jesse Espinoza and Alexandrea Schodowski, chief criminal deputy John Troberg, juvenile deputy Tracey Lassus, appeals deputy Lew Schrawyer, district court deputy Jonathan Luke and civil deputy and Drug Court representative Kim Ortloff.
Conroy, hired in Clallam County on March 3, was the subject of a 2011 sexual harassment lawsuit that was settled by the city of Aberdeen for $580,000 in May 2013.
He resigned after news accounts of the settlement were published.
Drug Court Month
The three commissioners Tuesday also signed a proclamation recognizing May as National Drug Court Month.
Clallam County’s drug courts have served more than 1,000 residents since the juvenile drug court opened as the first in the Pacific Northwest in 1997 and the adult drug court was formed in 1999.
Drug court proponents say the diversion program saves taxpayer dollars by reducing recidivism and saves lives by breaking the cycle of addiction.
Nonviolent drug offenders who complete the requirements of drug court, which include at least a year of treatment and regular drug screenings, are eligible to have their charges dismissed.
Clallam County drug courts have a completion rate of more than 40 percent. The program saves about $27 in criminal justice costs for every dollar invested, according to the proclamation.
County Drug Court Coordinator Stormy Howell said there are 52 active participants in Clallam County drug courts, including 20 who enrolled this year.
Payne, who was appointed in January to serve the last year of retired Prosecutor Deborah Kelly’s term, said his office has accelerated drug court referrals.
“We’re happy we have drug court,” he said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.