South Sound News

Pierce County's prosecuting attorney says subpoenas demanding records from media won't be refiled

Pierce County’s prosecuting attorney said subpoenas demanding records from KIRO 7 and other media outlets will not be refiled.

The subpoenas were issued after associate medical examiner Dr. Megan Quinn went public with her complaint aimed at Pierce County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark in January.

“I believe that he deliberately makes decisions to take shortcuts,” Quinn said to KIRO 7 in an interview on Jan. 24.

Several months after KIRO 7 aired stories about her whistleblower complaint, Pierce County's prosecuting attorney's civil division issued subpoenas to KIRO 7 and reporter Kevin McCarty along with four other media outlets demanding, “emails texts and/or phone messages,”, regarding stories aired about Quinn's complaint, hoping to prove Quinn tipped reporters off before filing the paperwork. A charge Quinn and her attorney Joan Mell denied.

During a telephone hearing before an administrative law judge Monday county attorneys, who had withdrawn the subpoenas in a motion called a clawback due to a procedural error, indicated they will not reissue that demand.

It is my belief that given the declaration filed by Ms. Mell in this matter there will probably be no reason to reissue those subpoenas,” said deputy prosecuting attorney Drew Scott.

Prosecuting attorney Mary Robnett declined an interview with KIRO-7 about the actions of her civil division lawyers but released an email statement following today's hearing saying, “the County will not be re-issuing the subpoenas."

Quinn was suspended from her job after filing the whistleblower complaint in part because of accusations she went public before filing the complaint with the county’s Human Resources department. It is not clear if Monday’s decision will lead to her reinstatement while the complaint is heard.

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