“Some defense attorneys in San Juan County worry that Sheriff Ron Krebs has a finger on the scales of justice after learning he used a courtroom security camera to surreptitiously zoom in on defense documents and a juror’s notebook during a criminal trial last week.
The incident has drawn outrage from criminal and civil-rights attorneys and frustration from the county prosecutor, and prompted a rare weekend hearing during which a judge dismissed misdemeanor assault and trespass charges against a Lopez Island man after finding the incident amounted to government misconduct that had violated his right to a fair trial.
“I’m flabbergasted,” said San Juan Public Defender Colleen Kenimond, the attorney whose notes were targeted. ‘This was a court of law. You are supposed to be safe there, and the proceedings are supposed to be fair. Here, the sheriff used the courtroom to violate my client’s rights. Outrageous hardly covers it.’”