Cheney says he won’t rehire Beeson |

Cheney says he won’t rehire Beeson

Ryan Summerlin

Jeff Cheney, the Republican nominee for 9th District attorney, said Wednesday that claims he would bring former DA Martin Beeson back into the office are baseless. He told the Post Independent he has no intention of rehiring Beeson, who now lives in China.

Beeson, the current DA’s immediate predecessor and under whom Cheney served, has been a constant fixture in the DA’s race. Cheney’s opponents, Democratic incumbent Sherry Caloia and the independent candidate Chip McCrory, have often linked him to criticisms against Beeson.

Caloia’s successful 2012 campaign against Beeson has widely been attributed to community perceptions of overzealous prosecution under his leadership.

“I submit that this district does not need a return to Beeson-Cheney,” McCrory wrote in a recent letter to the editor. Caloia, too, has said that Cheney’s election would be an effective return to this style of prosecution.

For much of his campaign, Cheney has been differentiating himself from his former boss. He said Beeson was a much more regimented person and Cheney asserts that he believes more strongly in rehabilitation.

“I doubt that (claims of bringing Beeson back) came from anywhere but by people trying to reach back into the past,” Cheney said Wednesday.

Letter writers have also criticized Cheney of having recently left a string of jobs, alleging that he’s been out of work and that he’s only in it for a government paycheck. These claims are attempts at character assassination, he said.

“How have I been paying my bills” if he hasn’t been working? Cheney asked.

Cheney said he has been actively practicing law, including military criminal defense, civil law, wills and trusts and real estate. Cheney said he has slowed down his practice since entering the DA’s race in February to focus on the campaign.

“And I’ve left jobs for other jobs just as everyone has,” he said, adding that he didn’t know in all cases “what terms I left on.”

“People leave jobs, and whether the employer would hire them back is immaterial to whether they’re good at their job,” said Cheney.

“This all started in February, so it’s absolutely true that I set a goal to run for DA then, and as a result of that I have spent a lot of time juggling making a living and supporting (my family) while also being a politician.”

McCrory also criticized a trip to London during the Marcus Bebb-Jones murder case while he was lead prosecutor. McCrory wrote in his letter that Cheney and Beeson took this trip on the taxpayers’ dime and had no investigative purpose.

Cheney said that decision was made by Beeson and he followed his boss’s instructions. The prosecutors promised the victim’s family in that case to bring the suspect back and hold him accountable, Cheney said.

“Martin certainly made decisions I didn’t agree with,” he told the PI.

People understand that bosses make decisions you don’t agree with, and “we can either leave or do what we’re told.”

Once, Cheney said, during a disagreement with Beeson, he offered his resignation. Cheney said they ended up working it out, but he did not want to give specifics about the incident.

“I think it’s unfortunate that people are getting that desperate to personally attack me, and no one calls them on it.”

Why hasn’t the Post Independent followed up on Beeson’s letter about Cheney jumping into a river attempting to save a boater, or the juror who wrote in praise of his approach during prosecution, he asked.

“This is why people are losing faith in journalism, because there is a fixation on sensationalism,” said Cheney. “This is why the media is dying. People are not going to participate in this sensationalism of the negative.

“I’ve had 10 years experience as a prosecutor and have tried all kinds of cases.

“I have hundreds and hundreds of people in this community who know who I am and how hard I’ve worked. This is a last-ditch effort to assassinate my character.”

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