The state Attorney General’s office has declined a request by the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee that the Attorney General’s office take over the investigation of Eureka council member Larry Glass’ allegations of intimidation by local developer Robin P. Arkley II, stating “any request at this time appears premature”. The central committee’s September 12 letter to the Attorney General requested that office “take the lead in the investigation and prosecution of this alleged violation.”

In a letter to the Humboldt Democratic Central Committee dated September 26, 2007, Senior Assistant Attorney General Gerald A. Engler advised the committee his office would “respectfully decline your request to intervene”, stating “First and foremost, the District Attorney is the elected prosecutor of Humboldt County. The law maintains a strong presumption that the District Attorney – not the Attorney General – will handle prosecutorial matters within the county. Only in extraordinary cases where an actual conflict of interest makes it unlikely the district attorney can fairly prosecute the case may the district attorney be recused. A mere appearance of conflict is insufficient to warrant recusal. Thus, there are numerous cases where recusal has been denied even though the district attorney is called upon to prosecute cases involving county supervisors, sheriffs, or other political officials. The mere fact that the case involves a political supporter or a political opponent of the District Attorney will almost never suffice to justify recusal.”

Engler went on to state “neither the District Attorney nor any involved party has asked us to intervene. Even if such a request were made, it is unlikely we would do so given the considerations set forth in the preceding paragraph. As a general rule, the Attorney General will not intervene in a local matter at the request of a third party, such as the Central Committee”, and continued “any request at this time appears premature. Nothing in your letter suggests that the appropriate local law enforcement agency such as the sheriff’s office or city police are unwilling or unable to investigate the alleged crime. That is an essential first step before it is even appropriate for a prosecutor to consider whether to bring charges.”

HCDCC Chair Milton Boyd said the reply “clarifies the legal process involved” and added, “the allegations made in this case are unusual and serious and we appreciate this prompt and clear response from Attorney General Brown’s office”.


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