By Marcy Stamper
Okanogan County has a new prosecutor, with the commissioners’ appointment of Branden Platter on Aug. 29. Platter has been serving as interim prosecutor since Karl Sloan resigned in July.
The county commissioners voted 2-to-1 to approve Platter, who has been the county’s chief criminal deputy prosecutor for the past three years. Commissioner Jim DeTro voted against the confirmation.
Platter was one of two names submitted to the commissioners by the Okanogan County Democratic Party, which was responsible for providing up to three candidates for the elective position, since Sloan was a Democrat.
Platter was Sloan’s recommendation for the prosecutor’s job. Platter nominated David Gecas, who has been the county’s family support attorney, as the other candidate. The Democratic Party never received a third nomination, even after placing an ad soliciting other names.
In their resolution appointing Platter, the commissioners stated that they had researched the legal requirements for the number of candidates and determined that the Okanogan County Democratic Central Committee had made a good-faith effort to fulfill the intent of the provision.
“It is in the best interests of the citizens of Okanogan County to move forward with the appointment,” according to the resolution.
Platter has been with the prosecutors’ office since 2013, working as chief criminal deputy for the last three years. Born in Enumclaw, he attended the University of Oregon where he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in physical anthropology. He went to law school at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, where he graduated with highest honors.
The prosecuting attorney is the legal representative of the county. He or she also advises the county’s elected and appointed officials and prosecutes violators of state law. The civil deputy advises the county on land-use matters, labor relations and basic matters of county business.
Gecas was appointed by Platter as the county’s chief civil deputy prosecutor, a post Gecas had been filling on an interim basis since Albert Lin resigned earlier this summer.
Platter’s position of chief criminal deputy has been filled by Melanie Bailey. “She was recently hired as a District Court deputy, but has many years of experience in criminal law and is a good fit for the chief criminal deputy position,” said Platter.
The county is still seeking a candidate for the position of child support enforcement deputy, previously held by Gecas.
Because the county prosecutor is an elected position, the prosecuting attorney will be on the ballot in 2018 for the standard four-year term, according to Mila Jury, chief deputy in the county auditor’s office.