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Snohomish County Prosecutor steps down to work for Tulalip Tribes

TULALIP — Snohomish County Prosecutor Janice Ellis is leaving her post, before the end of her term next year, to serve as the Tulalip Tribes' prosecutor.

In a letter dated Oct. 5, Ellis expressed the belief that the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office would benefit from allowing an appointed prosecutor to complete her term. She wrote about her goal of working on rule of law issues relating to child abuse and neglect, and noted that the Tribes recently decided to bring their criminal prosecutor work in house, to bring more robust prosecution of crimes on the reservation, and more attention to child welfare needs.

In her letter, Ellis promised to focus on providing a smooth transition for the Prosecutor's Office during the next two months. Because she's a Democrat, the Snohomish County Democrats will recommend three replacements to the County Council, which will choose an interim prosecutor from those candidates. Ellis' letter endorsed Deputy Prosecutor Mark Roe due to his "unmatched" talent and experience, as well as "his dedication to the public practice of law."

In the wake of her announcement, Ellis has received praise from Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick, for her value to the county as a "consummate professional" public servant, as well as from Snohomish County deputy prosecutors Craig Matheson and Joan Cavagnaro. In a press release dated Oct. 6, Roe thanked Ellis for her mentorship and friendship, as he announced his campaign to replace her.

State Rep. John McCoy of Tulalip predicted that Ellis would be an asset to the Tribal court system.

Ellis' letter apologized to her colleagues for her inability to share the news with them in person that she would be stepping down. She decided not to seek re-election two years ago, but had planned to serve out her term, until the opportunity with the Tribes presented itself. Her letter credited her colleagues with the successes that the Prosecutor's Office has achieved since 2003, after she was first elected to the post.

"When I transition to the Tulalip Tribes, I will carry with me many lessons I have learned from all of you," Ellis wrote.

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