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Nevada County supervisors to choose between 3 candidates for DA

Nevada County supervisors on Tuesday will choose between three candidates to fill the remaining term of District Attorney Cliff Newell.

Colusa County District Attorney Matthew Beauchamp, Nevada County Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh, and El Dorado County Deputy District Attorney Jesse Wilson are scheduled to appear before supervisors at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Supervisors are set to interview the candidates openly, and could vote that day on who will complete Newell’s term.

Whoever is chosen must run for a full term in June 2022.

Newell announced in March that he would step down July 10. About 18 months remain of his term.

In an application letter, Beauchamp said he intended to run for Nevada County district attorney in 2022, when Newell’s current term would have ended. He owns a small ranch in Penn Valley, and his children attended schools in Nevada County. Four of his five children currently live here.

“My main reason for seeking appointment as the Nevada County district attorney is the office needs effective leadership,” Beauchamp writes. “I have been asked many times through the years by Nevada County citizens to run for district attorney.”

Beauchamp also referenced the Finley Fultz murder case, which in 2018 ended in a mistrial and was followed by a Nevada County Superior Court judge dismissing murder accusations against Fultz, ruling that Nevada County authorities “repeatedly violated” constitutional principles by ignoring or bypassing Fultz’s rights.

Both Walsh and Wilson — the other two district attorney candidates — were involved in the prosecution of that murder case. The local judge’s decision is under appeal.

Walsh in his application letter states that he’s been a prosecutor for 15 years, and has focused on criminal street gangs, sexual assaults and homicides during his career.

“I have the support of my boss, District Attorney Cliff Newell,” Walsh states. “I am also proud to have the support of the deputy district attorneys here in Nevada County that I have the privilege of working with every day.”

Wilson, who previously worked under Newell, in his letter said he left for El Dorado County because he didn’t feel the local District Attorney’s Office was going in the same direction as his principles.

“I took a pay cut, an increased workload, and uprooted my family to work for a former Nevada County (prosecutor),” Wilson states.

“I want to return to the community and facilitate infrastructure in the DA’s office that demands integrity, transparency and professionalism; a training program to support those expectations; and a hiring process that will ensure the community’s safety is not compromised when turnover takes place,” Wilson continued.

Alan Riquelmy is the editor of The Union. He can be reached at ariquelmy@theunion.com and 530-477-4249



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