Saturday, November 27 2021

The current Nevada County Assistant District Attorney will step down next month, citing a poor professional relationship with the new district attorney as the main reason for his decision.

Chris Walsh, who has served as an assistant county attorney since 2017, said he submitted his resignation letter to the district attorney’s office earlier this week. Walsh said his last day on the job will be July 11 – the day before Jesse Wilson, the newly appointed district attorney, starts.

Wilson, currently an El Dorado County district attorney, will assume the post next month, after being selected on June 8 by the Nevada County Board of Supervisors in a 3-2 vote.. Wilson previously worked in the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office alongside Walsh before leaving in 2018 for his current role.

Wilson will take the position at an acting level, completing the term of retiring District Attorney Clifford Newell. Newell had approved Walsh for the role ahead of the supervisory board vote earlier this month.

Walsh said he left the district attorney’s office proud of his accomplishments, touting the training and hiring of a number of new prosecutors under his tenure as one of his most significant accomplishments.

“I’m very proud of some of the things I was able to accomplish during my time here, and I’m especially proud of some of the employees I was able to bring here,” said Walsh.

“When I came here four years ago, a lot of the prosecutors here lived in other counties and just came here to work, and they had no connection with this community… I was able to hire experienced prosecutors who have bought homes here and have deep roots in this community and now live here, and I can’t wait for it to really make this office a lot stronger.

Explaining his decision to resign, Walsh said he felt it would not be appropriate for him to continue as deputy prosecutor, due to a history of significant disagreements between him and Wilson which would make a professional relationship difficult.

“I want (Wilson) to have the opportunity to have an DA assistant who supports his program and hopefully will help him be successful. It is extremely important that the DA assistant and DA are on the same page, ”said Walsh.


Wilson, who was a Nevada County district attorney before leaving for a position in El Dorado County in 2018, has publicly criticized Walsh and Newell’s leadership in the district attorney’s office.

Wilson cited substantial differences in principle with Newell’s administration as the main reason he left Nevada County in 2018. More recently, at the June 8 Board of Supervisors meeting, Wilson criticized the current office for what he called an unsatisfactory conviction rate in cases that are the subject of prosecution.

Walsh said given Wilson’s public criticism of himself and the current District Attorney, it would be counterproductive for him to serve as Wilson’s assistant.

“In this situation, as an employee at will, I don’t think it would be productive for the new prosecutor, who has indicated that he is coming to change the way things are done, for me to continue,” said Walsh. . “It wouldn’t be productive for him to walk into the office like he did, as someone I know and have worked with, and he criticized me.

“A person acting in the role of Assistant DA must have a certain level of confidence in the experience and integrity of the DA they are serving. Respectfully, I don’t have this with the incoming administration, ”Walsh added.

Walsh said that because his position is at will, meaning the Assistant District Attorney only serves at the discretion of the District Attorney, he expected to be removed from office once Wilson took office. functions..

Noting the complete lack of communication with Wilson since the supervisory board vote, Walsh said there appeared to be no interest on the part of the incoming district attorney in retaining Walsh as an assistant.

Despite his differences from Wilson, Walsh stressed his commitment to continue to carry out his work as a prosecutor at a high standard and to leave the office in a stable location before his departure in July.

“I am committed to making sure that the transition is smooth and orderly, and I do not want any issues to develop that would jeopardize cases due to the transition,” he said. .

“I wish Jesse Wilson the best, and despite my reluctance, I hope he will live up to it. The citizens of Nevada County deserve a strong district attorney’s office. “

Wilson declined to comment on his professional relationship with Walsh, stressing that he was focused on the future success of the office and not on past disagreements.

“I wish Chris Walsh the best of luck in his future endeavors and appreciate his service to Nevada County,” Wilson said in an email. “That being said, I look to the future of the Nevada County Attorney’s Office and I don’t dwell on the past. I look forward to working with the men and women of the prosecutor’s office, as well as other community stakeholders, to achieve justice and protect the community at the highest possible level.

Walsh said he did not yet have a definitive career plan after he resigned next month, but said he was considering a few other potential attorney positions in communities outside of Nevada County.

Stephen Wyer is a writer for The Union, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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