DA Cheney rehires Barrett, whom Caloia fired
District Attorney Jeff Cheney, sworn in last week, has rehired prosecutor Matt Barrett, after the outgoing DA fired him early last month, citing insubordination.
Cheney told the Post Independent that Barrett had been brought back to the same position as a senior trial attorney as well as to help train less experienced attorneys in the office.
When Cheney was assistant district attorney before Sherry Caloia won election, he had hired Barrett.
While Cheney left the office, Barrett stayed and went on to prosecute many of the DA’s highest-profile recent cases, including the first-degree murder trial of Arturo Navarrete-Portillo and the embezzlement trial of Erin Pressler.
Caloia, who lost her re-election bid in November, fired Barrett on Dec. 9, with about a month left of her term.
She told the Post Independent at the time that Barrett had gone behind her back to change the direction of a case involving an assault on a police officer. Barrett had told the deputy district attorney handling the case to pursue a prison sentence whereas Caloia said she had given instructions to offer a community corrections sentence.
After being dismissed, Barrett disputed her version of the events, saying that he and Caloia had discussed the case and that he walked away thinking they were on the same page.
Caloia proved to be clairvoyant — in her email firing Barrett, she wrote, “Please leave. I am sure that Jeff will rehire you.”
On Wednesday, Barrett said he’s been back at the office since last week and is ready to get back to work.
“It’s great to be back and doing the job that I love — and more importantly to be working with some great folks,” he said.
Barrett said that he was confident when he was dismissed in December that the other deputy DAs would handle his cases appropriately and that he wasn’t let down in that regard.