SPOKANE, Wash. - Last week a recall effort was launched to oust Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker from office for not doing his job, but now Tucker says he was surprised by the recall and says he's making his case for completing his three-year term as prosecutor.
Tucker didn't see it coming but does take the recall effort seriously; not only does he want to keep his job but he wants the public to know he is enforcing the law equally to protect all of us from crime.
"I golf on weekends, and a couple of benefit tournaments maybe during the week and that's it. It was a terrible year for golf actually," Tucker said.
After 13 years in office Tucker knows he's rubbed some people the wrong way but insists his low profile approach to his job should not be mistaken for poor performance.
"It's not my style. There are 140 people in this office 65 of them are attorneys. They're all very qualified attorneys and I like them to get the credit for what they do," he said.
However critics insist Tucker is not doing enough to scrutinize use of force issues involving local law enforcement and that Tucker dropped the ball in the Otto Zehm case.
"In the Zehm case the FBI and US Attorney took the investigation from me because they thought they had a good charge for civil rights violations they thought the wanted to look at," Tucker said.
"I'm sure he's a decent person, my issue is his job, and I'm here to give the vote back to the people," Shannon Sullivan, who's leading the recall effort said.
Sullivan says the feds went after Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson only after Tucker refused to make a call in the case. Sullivan launched her recall effort because she thinks Tucker hasn't held enough cops accountable for their actions.
"We've prosecuted at least a half dozen police officers for various crimes," Tucker said. "We prosecuted Jay Olsen, we prosecuted Jay Mehring."
"It's just wrong to say I don't prosecute police officers."
Tucker's political opponents have also criticized him for not carrying his own case load, that he's rarely seen inside a courtroom. Tucker, however, says he does his work behind the scenes making sure deputy prosecutors have the tools and funding they need to win convictions.
"Our office is running great, we're getting good results," he said.
Before this recall effort moves forward the state supreme court has to find the reasons behind the petition are valid. After that, Shannon Sullivan has 6 months to come up with the 42,000 signatures needed to get the recall on the ballot.