Friday, January 8, 2010

Good News! Democrat Greg Skordas To Challenge Republican Lohra Miller For The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Seat

Those of us who've been looking to extract the Salt Lake County District Attorney's office out of the claws of blowsy diva Lohra Miller may finally have the answer. Democrat Greg Skordas is stepping up to the plate - and the Democratic label shouldn't matter, because he appears to have the reputation and the qualifications necessary for the job. Primary media story from KSL Channel 5; other stories from the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune.

Specifically, Skordas intends to seek the Democratic nomination; others may choose to contest it. Skordas has practiced law in Utah for 25 years, including eight years in the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office. He is currently a practicing attorney, as well as a Small Claims Court Judge. Showing class, he took no shots at Lohra Miller by name, but said that it's time to bring the necessary experience and change to the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office. "I have the greatest respect for the District Attorney's office. During my tenure as First Assistant, I learned it's not just about lawyers. It's not about judges, courts or legislators. It's about you and your children and your families. It is about the people of Salt Lake County and keeping them safe," Skordas said.

Skodas hopes to forge stronger relationships between the courts, prosecutors, defense attorneys and law enforcement, and to move the office toward a more "nuts-and-bolts approach" to crime fighting. He believes the people of Salt Lake County deserve to have legal representation based on sound judgment, thoughtful priorities and the proper use of resources. Skordas is also conversant on the current issues; on December 22nd, he held forth with KTVX Channel 4 on the Susan Powell case.

Skordas is married with three adult children. Skordas' Facebook page is HERE, and his official campaign website is HERE.

Some additional background information on Skordas is available online, dating back to his unsuccessful 2004 run for Attorney General. A Deseret News article from 2004 is HERE, and a candidate questionnaire is HERE. Since the jobs are related, this will provide good guidance for making a sound electoral decision.

Update April 24th: Subsequently, Sim Gill, who was dethroned by Lohra Miller four years ago, jumped into the race to challenge Skordas for the Democratic nomination. And during the Salt Lake County Democratic Convention on April 24th, Gill won the nomination over Skordas outright, 73 percent to 27 percent. This means no primary fight between the two; Gill is the Democratic nominee.

Meanwhile, Lohra Miller is apparently gearing up to run for re-elections, though she has yet to formally announce. She recites some of her chief accomplishments on her website. She does own up to the fact that the first few months of her tenure were "rocky". But among her leading accomplishments cited was equipping her staff with state-of-the-art IT technology, eliminating the need for hard-copy code books, and dedicating more seasoned prosecutors to Juvenile Court, which was traditionally used as a training ground for rookie prosecutors. She takes particular pride in her domestic violence specialty team, which has its own paralegals, secretaries, a victims advocate coordinator, an investigator and a warrants coordinator.

But there's also the controversy, as follows:

(1). The Kent Morgan fiasco. In March 2008, after accusing prosecutor Kent Morgan of leaking information to one of his friends under investigation, Lohra Miller fired Morgan. This was in association with the famous "Doll House" case. Morgan contested the firing, and in September 2009, a civil service panel ordered Miller to make Morgan a felony prosecutor again.

(2). The D.J. Bell fiasco. Presented with two separate cases by South Salt Lake Police, one against Bell for child kidnapping, and the other against Bell's attackers, Lohra Miller chose to prosecute Bell for child kidnapping. The result: An acquittal after just over two hours deliberation. The case against Bell was so flimsy one juror openly wondered why they were even called to judge the case in the first place. Miller did explain her decision on KCPW back in October 2008; a link to that radio program is currently posted on my sidebar.

(3). In March 2008, a four-page Salt Lake City Weekly article entitled "Illegally Blonde: City Weekly March 2008 Feature On Lohra Miller" chronicled allegations of underage drinking parties at Miller's South Jordan cul-de-sac home and reported problems associated with them.

Lohra Miller may be a sincere person who wants to do the right thing, but her spontaneous, seat-of-the-pants corner-cutting approach undermines the integrity of her stewardship and generates too much criticism. She needs to be replaced, and, in the absence of a qualified Republican, Greg Skordas will do.

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