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Palo Alto County attorney named special prosecutor

By Staff | Mar 12, 2008

Palo Alto County Attorney Peter C. Hart has been named a special prosecutor for a court case in the Dickinson County District Court following action last week by a district court judge.

The Honorable Judge Don Courtney appointed Hart to serve as the special prosecutor in a case against two members of the Spirit Lake Community School Board of Directors. A request was filed last month in the Dickinson County District Court requesting the removal of Spirit Lake School Board President Beth Will and Vice President Ann Goerss for questionable practices in the fulfillment of their duties, including the recent resignation of high school principal Jed Sherman earlier this year.

However, Dickinson County Attorney Rosalise Olson requested a special prosecutor be assigned to the case, as Assistant County Attorney Lonnie Sanders serves as the school district’s legal counsel, creating a conflict of interest for her office in the case. The Emmet and Clay County Attorney’s both declined to prosecute the case, prompting the appointment of Hart.

With the appointment of Hart as special prosecutor, Judge Courtney signed an order allowing a “Petition for Removal” and a “Motion for Suspension” against the two board officers to proceed. However, Judge Courtney also noted that additional information regarding allegations of wrongdoing against the pair warrant more investigation.