Glenn County DA axes deputy and political rival

Justified firing or hardball politics?

WILLOWS, Calif. - Impersonating a peace officer, abuse of power and lack of trustworthiness and honesty.  Those are among the accusations in a strongly-worded termination letter written by Glenn County District Attorney Robert Maloney about deputy district attorney Dwayne Stewart. Stewart denies the charges. 

The allegations stem  from an April 9 incident when Stewart was negotiating a rental truck to move his belongings to Willows. In a confidential memorandum the DA's office says Stewart discredited the department and the county he serves by impersonating a peace officer and providing a fictitious address to the rental agency.

Not long before being fired, Stewart had announced that he was running to unseat Maloney in the June election.  Maloney says his firing of Stewart was not politically-motivated.

"And cheat the public out of knowing the facts that I discovered?" asked Malonley rhetorically. "And cheat the public out of knowing whether I was really doing my job?"

Stewart sees it differently. "If he focuses on bad things on me nobody will focus on the fact of his horrible job that he's been doing for the last four years," Stewart said.

But Maloney says he planned to retire, but decided to stay on the job just to keep Stewart out of the office. 

Two years ago, Maloney fired Stewart, but that decision was overturned. "Every neutral hearing officer has ruled in my favor," Stewart said. "And they're going to again when we go through this next process."

Stewart will have an opportunity to challenge Maloney's findings and perhaps have his decision once again overturned.
Voters will sort all of this out on June 3 at the ballot box.

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