By Joseph Snook
Deschutes County, OR - On May 18, 2010 voters of Deschutes County spoke loud and clear as they cast their votes for the office of District Attorney. Defense Attorney Patrick Flaherty defeated current District Attorney Michael Dugan by anything but a close margin. A reported 61.17% of voters chose Flaherty while only 38.7% voted for Dugan.
District Attorney Dugan had served as Deschutes County's "Top Cop" since Ronald Reagan was president. He hadn't had a challenger since 1990, which gave him plenty of time to establish a good name or make enemies. It's no surprise to the US~Observer that Dugan was defeated by a landslide - we certainly did our part in assuring this outcome. Dugan has wrongfully ruined many lives in Deschutes County during his 23 years in office. The US~Observer has been inundated with phone calls about Dugan’s hunger for prosecuting and convicting innocent people and we have vindicated a number of these.
The US~Observer has publically exposed Dugan for his false, stacked charges and his opponent Patrick Flaherty held him accountable in the only open debate between the two candidates prior to the May 18 election. Flaherty stated that Dugan has brought politics into the DA's office, was more concerned with prosecuting than serving justice and many other nail-on-the-head accusations. Dugan supported his wife in her race for public office as well as ballot measures 66 and 67 which passed earlier this year, all things that fellow democrat and opponent Flaherty stated; "there is no room for in the DA's office."
Dugan's baggage doesn't just stop there. Dugan had a problem with sexual harassment within his office in which a reported $125,000.00 in tax-payers' money was awarded to one female prosecutor. The records, which were released by the Department of Justice after a public records request, included the resignation letter from former deputy district attorney Mary Jo Mongan, the employee who reportedly received the six-figure settlement. Upon talking to Mary Jo, she had little comment but made it clear that she had received a settlement. Deputy DA Jody Vaughan, who has been aiding Dugan with false prosecutions for years, was the head of the misdemeanor team at the DA's office where Mongan worked. It is reported that Jody Vaughan is no longer the head of the misdemeanor team. It is also reported that at least four other female prosecutors who were part of the misdemeanor team at that time resigned as well. This unusual mass exodus from the prosecutor's is common knowledge among the legal community in central Oregon, but it was seemingly a mute topic for the media even in the midst of the recent political campaign.
One prime example of Dugan falsely prosecuting an innocent man is in a letter written to District Attorney Michael Dugan during the recent Kevin Driscoll trial, our paper asked Dugan to explain how his office could prosecute Driscoll when so much evidence existed that proved his innocence. Dugan clearly deceived and blatantly lied to the US~Observer in his response letter, wherein he stated "he was unaware of the evidence in the case his office was prosecuting and had asked us to provide our discovery so that he could address the issue." During a conversation with a reliable source, we were told that Dugan's assistant Jody Vaughan had stated Michael Dugan was well informed of the evidence his office had, and wanted to know what we had to help his office prepare for the upcoming trial. The trial has since ended and Kevin Driscoll is a free man, but his reputation has been permanently damaged. It is now up to Flaherty to do what's right when deciding to prosecute from here on out.
Being a district attorney comes with great reward and great skepticism. Patrick Flaherty has already proven himself numerous times. He has not only called out Dugan on his abuse and wrongful use of his position, he has also taken a tough stance on leaving politics out of the DA's office and investigating cases more thoroughly before deciding to press charges. The US~Observer and the people of Deschutes County are optimistic that this change in office is not only for the good of the taxpayer, but for the overall good of Deschutes County residents. Only time can tell if Flaherty holds true to his word. --
Editors Note: An excellent bit of advice from Mr. Flaherty would be; get rid of prosecutor Jody Vaughan. In the US~Observer's highly qualified opinion; Jody Vaughan is an evil and dangerous human being. She factually attempts to falsely prosecute innocent citizens and she is a danger to all who reside in Deschutes County.