In a close race current Lake County District Attorney Ted Martin defeated his challenger Paul Charas to win a full-term as Lake County District Attorney on Tuesday, May 19.
Martin was appointed the Lake County District Attorney in July 2019 replacing Sharon Forster who resigned in 2018; in between those times a traveling District Attorney would visit to try cases in the County.
Martin was in the private practice in the Ontario area and said that it was a major decision to take up the role of District Attorney for such a short time before the position was voted on. Now he will serve a full four-year term in office.
“I want to thank the people of Lake County for letting me remain your District Attorney. Those that supported me I intend to justify your faith. Those that did not, I hope to earn your support over the next four years,” said Martin in a statement.
Martin plans to remain focused on the many challenges facing Lake County including the increasing influx of methamphetamine and now heroin into the community. He believes that increasing access to treatment court and improving services for those looking for help will bring down crime rates and address quality of life issues across the county.
The public might convey a sentiment to lock up all drug addicts, but Martin believes that prison is not always the answer for those crimes. Instead, he wishes to focus more resources on treatment court, as prisons themselves have issues for drug offenders, especially those that are just users, and do not solve all the underlying issues involved in the process. He wants the public to understand that treatment court is heavily supervised, with many ways for people to seek treatment, while remaining clean during the time they are under supervision. If people violate the terms of treatment court then they go to prison. Martin is looking at a way to involve mental health, physical health and job security to address the root causes of these issues.
Martin knows that communication between the District Attorney’s office and the public is key and that is something that he is going to address over the next four-years.
His opponent Charas was deputy district attorney shortly after he completed law school in the second half of 2018 into early 2019. He was here to work in treatment court, his position was partly funded by a grant. Once the grant money ended he went to Clatsop County and worked in a similar position.
Charas wanted to come back to Lake County because he liked it here, and wanted to make the community more livable. He said that many cases had been overlooked and several of his cases were still being adjudicated by the District Attorney’s office, something that he said worried him as to why they had not been resolved yet.
Charas knew that he did not have a lot of experience before deciding to run for the position of Lake County District Attorney. He was asked by several people from the County to run for the position. He said his relationship with other District Attorneys, retired judges and lawyers would have helped him in office.
He also said that there is connection between mental health services and access and drug usage, which he considers apex issues. Charas believes that when people walk into the courtroom, especially on these charges, that they need help; and as District Attorney he wanted to help them. A coordinated effort is needed to address the issues involved.
Martin is happy that he got elected to a full term and will be sworn into his new term in January.
“I have learned a lot of things since last July. There are many things I want to approach differently in the future. I thank you for the opportunity do so,” Martin said in a statement.
Contact the District Attorneys office at 541-947-6009 for comments and questions.