Thursday, July 21, 2005

Marquis takes No. 2 national role

by Tom Bennett, The Daily Astorian
July 21, 2005

Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis has been elected vice president of the National District Attorneys Association.

The organization is the sole national group representing all of the country’s 25,000 local prosecutors, said Marquis, who has served as Oregon’s representative to the association for the last eight years.

“I’m very thrilled to be acknowledged by my peers,” he said.

His election came at the organization’s national conference in Portland, Maine. Marquis was also selected to join the group’s seven-member executive committee.

Marquis has served as Clatsop County District Attorney since 1994, when he was appointed by Gov. Barbara Roberts to replace former district attorney Julie Leonhardt. He won election to the position later that year, and has been re-elected in 1998 and 2002. He is up for re-election next year, and announced he will run for a fourth term.

Marquis served as president of the Oregon District Attorneys Association in 2001, and was recently appointed to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. He frequently speaks at law-enforcement conferences around the country and has published several articles on criminal justice-related issues. He recently testified in Washington, D.C. before the House Crime and Terrorism Committee.

The NDAA lobbies in Washington on behalf of district attorneys and represents prosecutors on a variety of issues, Marquis said. Currently the organization is tackling such issues as the death penalty, DNA testing and the growing methamphetamine problem – in a recent presentation to the group, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez acknowledged for the first time that meth is the country’s No. 1 drug problem. The organization is also pushing for loan forgiveness for new prosecutors, who often come into the field with as much as $100,000 in law school debt, he said.

Marquis said he wants the national organization to not lose sight of the needs of smaller prosecutors’ offices, which often struggle with heavy caseloads and small budgets. The average size of a district attorney’s office nationwide is just nine staff members, he said.

Marquis also announced that his office has been selected by the national association to receive a satellite network system to provide state-of-the art training to his 15 employees. The NDAA selected 50 sites across the country to receive both the system and its installation free.

“It will help us maintain a high level of continuing legal education beyond that required of all Oregon lawyers,” he said.

Marquis said his new position with the NDAA will entail very little additional time away from his job in Clatsop County. His staff will also benefit from free training through the University of South Carolina. All his trips are paid for by outside funding sources, he said.