As of the official swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 2, Lake County District Attorney Ulys Stapleton began his elected term. Of course, he has filled the position since the beginning of September with the early departure of former DA, David Schutt. However, the term by which the people of Lake County voted began at the start of the year.
With the four-month head start before he took the oath, the time has given Stapleton a firm grounding in how the job would proceed, how he has had to adjust and possible changes he would like to make to the department.
“I have a lot of fun,” he said, admitting that his days can range up to 18 hours long. Moving into the position out of retirement, he said that the transition was not a problem at all. He said that the biggest change for the department as a whole was the disparate ways in which he and Schutt decided on cases. “We had different ways of charging people,” he said.
According to him, though, it has not been difficult to get along with the employees and departments that surround his office. “The police officers and I have gotten along great, there’s been no unexpected bumps in the road,” he said.
When asked what had been the biggest surprise about Lake County prosecutions, he mentioned the pervasive drugs in the area. “The level of methamphetamine in the community has been a surprise,” he said. “They are the most important felonies we charge.”
As far as changes that he has looked to make through his district, he pointed to their change of only calling a grand jury once a month, unless there is dire need, to save the county money. Stapleton is also trying to set up video hearings in Christmas Valley, to save people the hassle of having to drive down to Lakeview from north in the county.