YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash.-- After 25 years of being a prosecutor, Yakima County's lead prosecuting attorney will retire. His term is up this year and he says he is ready for the next chapter in his life.
2014 will mark Jim Hagarty's sixth and final year as Yakima County's lead prosecutor. After the announcement that he won't run for re-election Friday, Hagarty says it is time to switch gears in his life.
"I put my personal life on hold for 25 years and really my primary focus has been work as hard as I can," Hagarty said. "So, it's now time to reverse the role and make the personal life my primary focus."
25 years in the prosecutors office, 5 years in a private law practice, and 12 years with insurance leaves Hagarty ready for a different life: retirement.
"I anticipate going into a full retirement mode and traveling and playing golf and seeing the grandchildren and my family. "And, hanging out with my dad."
Some say Hagarty's role and level of success have been controversial. Most recently, his office has been blamed for botching the West Valley Triple Murder case. Kevin Harper was not able to be tried for murder after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors. Hagarty stands by his opinion that it was a botched case before it reached his office.
"The investigation was flawed," he said. "Information was untimely given to us, it wasn't a complete investigation."
Admitting that mistakes have been made throughout his five years in the lead prosecutor role, Hagarty also stands by his work, despite a negative public opinion.
"I am proud of what this office has done," he said. "I was brought in to get rid of the backlog of cases, I did that."
Along with reducing a backlog, Hagarty carried his office through budget and staffing cuts, and has reduced the number of trials with plea deals ultimately saving taxpayer dollars.
Jim Hagarty's term is up at the end of 2014. He says it's too early to endorse anyone at this time.