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Banks leads state prosecutors

The leaders of the law and justice system in Island County are a force to be reckoned with.

Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill is past president of the Superior Court Judges Association. Craig Platt, an attorney who formerly handled public defense for the county, was elected president of the Washington Defender Association. Court Administrator Mike Merringer is president elect of the Washington Association of Juvenile Court Administrators.

Now, Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks was elected by his peers to be president of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, or WAPA, for 2009.

“Island County is really well represented in the state,” he said. “It’s pretty remarkable.”

Banks is the first Island County prosecutor to be president of WAPA, a non-profit organization whose membership consists of the 39 elected county prosecutors in the state. Many of the greatest legal minds in the state have held the title, including the late Norm Maleng.

“It is pretty humbling that those same prosecutors have selected me to carry the mantle of the association,” Banks wrote in a statement. “I will do my best to live up to their high standards.”

For local citizens, Banks said his position will help ensure that the voices of small counties are heard in Olympia. The association does a lot of lobbying for criminal justice laws on the state and national level. Soon Banks will join in.

Proposed laws that Banks said WAPA may push include a measure to make domestic violence crimes into felonies for people with a certain criminal history and an amendment to stop abuses of the Open Public Records Act.

The association also provides training and support of the deputy prosecutors throughout the state.

Because of the new position, Banks stepped down from two committee assignments — the Judicial Information Systems Committee and the Judicial Information Network. He will continue to chair the WAPA Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee.

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