Longtime Inyo County District Attorney Art Maillet announced this week that he will be retiring early next month.
Maillet, who is retiring for medical reasons, said he is not one for goodbyes, but said “it has been an honor to serve the public” in Inyo County, and added that he is happy to report that he will be retiring with “a successful prosecution rate.”
Maillet will officially step down as D.A. Aug. 10.
“I have had two knee surgeries in the last seven months,” Maillet said. “The physical therapy and rehab has been long and painful. I wanted to finish my term,” but that just isn’t on the docket. Maillet said he expects he will need at least one more knee surgery.
Maillet was elected to the post of D.A. in 2003 and has spent the past 10.5 years as Inyo’s chief prosecutor, representing the people in several high-profile cases. He has been elected to office three times, with his current term set to expire Dec. 31, 2014.
According to County Administrative Officer Kevin Carunchio, Maillet is “a warrior in the classical sense. I’ve enjoyed the eight-plus years Art Maillet and I have worked together. We didn’t always see eye to eye on everything, but it was always a gentlemanly disagreement.”
Maillet said he has recommended that the Inyo County Board of Supervisors appoint current Assistant D.A. Joel Samuels to complete his current term until the 2014 election.
Samuels has served as an attorney in the D.A.’s Office for the past eight years, serving as Assistant D.A. for the past two years.
“During this time period he has become the most successful and best trial lawyer in Inyo County,” Maillet said in his recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. “There is no other public or private lawyer in Inyo County with his track record. He has put a number of people in prison for life, including a murderer and a child molester.”
Maillet goes on to say that Samuels is respected by local law enforcement and “always has the best interest of the victim in mind when trying or settling a case.”
Maillet said Samuels has experience supervising staff within the D.A.’s Office.
“He currently supervises the deputy district attorneys and the support staff in the Bishop office, including the investigators, secretaries, office assistant staff and victim witness assistants,” Maillet said. “He is familiar with the budget process and has represented the District Attorney at various meetings when the District Attorney has been unavailable.”
Carunchio said the Board of Supervisors will decide at its next meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 6, if it should appoint Samuels (or another attorney) to the vacant D.A.’s position or hold a special election.