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Petitions submitted for recall of LaMoure County state's attorney

LAMOURE, N.D. — Proponents of an effort to recall LaMoure County State's Attorney Tonya Duffy submitted their petitions for a referendum election this week.

Jay Cink, chairman of the Committee to Recall LaMoure County State's Attorney Tonya Duffy, said 541 signatures of registered LaMoure County voters were needed in order to hold an election, which LaMoure County Auditor Janice Hamlin must verify.

"We turned in 613 signatures," Cink said Wednesday, June 21. "She (Hamlin) has 30 days to verify or reject the signatures."

Duffy was elected state's attorney in November 2014. She was not available for comment because she was at a work-related conference Thursday and Friday.

Hamlin said Friday, June 23, that her office received the recall paperwork on Tuesday.

"Our office is in the process of validating the signatures," she said.

If enough signatures are verified and the petitions accepted, the county must schedule an election within 95 to 105 days after Hamlin completing her work on the petitions. Cink said he thinks the earliest a recall election could be held is sometime in October.

Cink said volunteers worked long hours to get more than the necessary number of signatures on the recall petitions.

"Boy, it (collecting signatures) was a lot of work," he said.

Recall supporters started circulating petitions in early May. The reason for the recall stated on the petitions is Duffy is "lacking the competency and demeanor to hold the office of the State's Attorney and that she has neglected to properly perform the duties of the LaMoure County prosecuting attorney."

Cink previously said the main reason people want to recall Duffy is they feel she doesn't treat her constituents fairly.

According to published minutes of the LaMoure County Commission, Michael Dahlen, father of of Joshua Dahlen, 25, who was killed in a drunken driving crash in LaMoure County in January 2016, asked for Duffy to resign as the county's state's attorney in March 2017. The minutes state Michael Dahlen didn't feel Duffy represented his son's death to the best of her ability.

Roddy Gentzlow Jr., 21, LaMoure, who was found responsible for the crash, was sentenced for manslaughter in a plea agreement on Jan. 18, according to Southeast District Court records. Court records state Gentzlow was drunk when the crash happened. He is serving a year in the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation with an estimated release date of Nov. 25, 2017.