KIMA dug deeper to find out what it means now that the top enforcer of the law finds himself in trouble with the law. Action News looked at how this effects his position and the criminal caseload across Yakima County.
When someone in a top county position like Yakima county prosecutor Jim Hagarty gets arrested, it not only affects him but the rest of the community. We wanted to know what happens now that the powerful prosecutor is in trouble. Is it going to affect the everyday case load in Yakima County court?
"No not at all, the system runs itself and we all participate in it, but if one of us is not in the system for a while it doesn't break down," said court administrator Harold Delia.
Delia says DUI cases don't take long and shouldn't keep him away from his job. In fact, he was in his office when we stopped by, but he declined to comment. For now it seems Hagarty will fulfill his duty as county prosecutor, but what happens if he's found guilty?
Unless he's convicted of a felony, he remains eligible to serve; if found guilty, he could be suspended or removed from the bar association, which would make him ineligible for county prosecutor.
KIMA dug up the statistics and found last year in Yakima County there were 2,000 DUI cases. The majority of those people were found guilty. More than 600 of the charges were reduced or amended and 344 of the cases were dismissed altogether.
Those odds aren't in Hagarty's favor, but his legal expertise is.
KIMA couldn't get any attorney in town to comment for fear of
backlash. This just shows how much power this man has.
There's no court date set yet for Hagarty. The county will call in an independent prosecutor and judge from a different part of the state to handle the case.