Williston law firm exploring problem to Sarah George for Chittenden prosecutor’s post
Ted Kenney. Photograph by means of Facebook

Following extra than 5 several years as Chittenden County state’s legal professional, Sarah George — a reform-minded prosecutor who has drawn praise and condemnation for her positions on felony justice difficulties — could be experiencing a challenge.

Ted Kenney, Williston selectboard vice chair and a law firm, is thinking about a operate for the business, he informed VTDigger on Tuesday in reaction to an inquiry, mounting a obstacle to George in the Democratic primary Aug. 9.

Kenney declined to give additional details about his likely bid.

But any obstacle to George could attract assistance from voters who believe the Democratic prosecutor’s progressive sights have designed the Burlington area a lot less secure. 

Given that taking business office in January 2017, George has utilized the software of “prosecutorial discretion” to build new benchmarks for what sort of regulation-breaking gets a day in court. 

In 2020, she finished money bail for defendants awaiting a demo. As a consequence, defendants billed with a misdemeanor, these as retail theft, are unable to be detained below Vermont regulation. The apply has angered nearby shop house owners, who say George’s conclusion has led to a spike in people repeatedly stealing from them with no fear of consequences.

George has also tangled with elected officials for her final decision not to prosecute persons in selected significant-profile incidents. Gov. Phil Scott questioned her in 2019 for dropping prices against a few defendants accused of murder and attempted murder mainly because they pleaded madness, while Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger criticized her selection not to prosecute a man or woman linked to a 2018 capturing. 

For as a lot blowback as she has gained, while, George has been cheered on by supporters in Vermont and throughout the state, who see her as an integral section of a movement of prosecutors rethinking the justice program. Even Weinberger, who chastised her for not charging a individual in the taking pictures incident, joined hands with George in supporting the non-prosecution of people found with unprescribed buprenorphine, an opioid withdrawal drug.

Chittenden County State’s Legal professional Sarah George confers with victims’ people all through the sentencing hearing for Steven Bourgoin in Vermont Superior Courtroom in Burlington in August 2019. Bourgoin was convicted in the fatalities of 5 young people in a crash on I-89 in Williston in Oct 2016. Image by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

The help for George is not just verbal. The 38-year-previous experienced far more than $14,000 left about from her 2018 marketing campaign for state’s lawyer as of last month, in accordance to disclosures she filed with the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office environment. She expended nearly $3,000 from those marketing campaign resources in the to start with quarter of 2022, the information clearly show.

George took on the state’s lawyer purpose in 2017, when then-county prosecutor TJ Donovan was elected condition lawyer basic. As governor, Scott picked George — who was then a deputy in Donovan’s place of work — from a checklist of three Democrats to fill the slot.

Also on the checklist of 3 Democrats? Kenney — who really obtained a lot more votes from the Chittenden County Democratic Committee than George did, in accordance to the group’s then-chair, Cameron Russell.

At the time, Kenney was working at his own law business in Colchester. In 2020, he adopted Donovan to Montpelier, where he worked as an assistant attorney basic for scenarios relating to the point out Company of Health and Human Companies. Kenney remaining that career this thirty day period, according to his LinkedIn profile. 

The state’s major election will be held Aug. 9, and the typical election on Nov. 8.

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