Charge against Sutherland dropped

Prosecutor’s Office also lowers suspended license infraction to traffic ticket

Matthew+Sutherland%2C+vice+president+of+legislative+affairs%2C+said+his+hope+is+for+GPSA+to+donate+money+to+Dissmore%27s+to+help+graduate+students+pay+for+groceries.+

DYLAN GREENE | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Matthew Sutherland, vice president of legislative affairs, said his hope is for GPSA to donate money to Dissmore's to help graduate students pay for groceries.

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

The Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office dropped the failure to transfer vehicle title within 45 days charge against Matthew Sutherland on Wednesday.

Sutherland, who is running as the Democratic candidate for Washington State’s 9th Legislative District Pos. 2, had the infraction dismissed by the Whitman County District Court on Wednesday night, Campaign Manager Josh Maasberg said.

Merritt Decker, Whitman County senior deputy prosecutor, confirmed the issue around the title transfer had been resolved.

“It’s a standard offer I give to anybody in a similar situation,” Decker said. “When I get multiple counts like this, I usually drop one count and amend the other then add a steeper fine.”

As part of the deal, Sutherland paid off the infraction that caused his license to be suspended and went through the process of having his license reinstated, Decker said. After this, Decker reduced the charge to a speeding ticket while completely dropping the title transfer charge after Sutherland registered the vehicle.

“We kind of use it more as a shtick to get the person legally driving again,” Decker said. “I asked for a stiffer fine than usual since there were two offenses.”

Sutherland’s license was reinstated Wednesday morning, Maasberg  said, and his vehicle is now fully registered.