Garfield County Prosecuting Attorney
Matt L. Newberg is the elected Prosecuting Attorney for Garfield County.
The Garfield County Prosecuting Attorney has major responsibilities as legal advisor, a prosecutor of criminal matters, a representative of the county in civil cases, as well as ex-officio coroner.
In criminal matters, the prosecutor has the duty to prosecute violators of state laws as well as county ordinances. A person charged with a crime by either the prosecutor’s information or a district court filing, who pleads “not guilty,” is entitled to a trial (by jury if desired). During the trial, the prosecutor presents the state’s case and gives a recommendation for sentencing, upon conviction.
The prosecutor’s duties as legal adviser to the board of county commissioners, school directors and other county officers, requires a close relationship with other courthouse officials. Written opinions are common and may require long hours reviewing state laws, court decisions and attorney general opinions. If research indicates that there are conflicting statutes or court decisions, the prosecutor may write to the Attorney General for an opinion on the matter. Local officials call upon the prosecutor to prepare various legal documents such as leases, contracts and proper forms for resolutions being considered for adoption by the county commissioners.
The prosecutor represents the county in civil actions. For example, the prosecutor may need to defend the county when it is being sued on a contested claim or suit for personal injuries, in the condemnation of property for public purposes or in an action where a taxpayer sues to recover taxes claimed to be excessive.
Presently, in those counties with a population less than 40,000, the prosecutor acts as ex-officio coroner. In this position, the prosecutor must determine the cause of death in those instances where the death of a person is unnatural, violent, results from unlawful means or from suspicious circumstances, or if there is a possibility that the death is a homicide or a suicide. In difficult cases, the prosecutor will employ the services of a doctor, usually a pathologist.
The Garfield County Prosecutor’s Office also maintains a Victim/Witness program.
The Victim/Witness Unit provides assistance to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking, as well as assistance to witnesses involved in criminal matters handled by the Prosecutor’s Office in both Asotin and Garfield counties. We offer a variety of services including: information on victim’s rights; crisis intervention and referral to services; child and adult court orientation; trial preparation; accompanying victims to interviews with law enforcement, prosecutors, and/or defense attorneys; transportation assistance; assistance with preparation of protection/restraining orders; assisting victims to apply for compensation; assistance with restitution; preparing victim impact statements; and we also discuss and explain plea negotiations and will provide notification of jail status.
Child Support Enforcement
The State, through County Prosecutor offices, may assist parents by helping to collect delinquent payments in child support cases.
[ACKNOWLEDGMENT - Most of this content was borrowed from the pamphlet "Washington County Government" published by the Washington Association of County Officials.]