Justice with a sense of humor

Michael Chartrey took office as a Coos County deputy district attorney in February.He is known around the office for his good sense of humor and pranks.

By Alysha Beck, The World

COQUILLE  — Coos County’s new deputy district attorney has added a touch of fun around the office.

Since joining the office in February, Michael Chartrey, 25, has built a reputation as an office prankster.

Budget space freed up when deputy DA Ryan Hughes moved to the narcotics team. Chartrey clerked at the office in the summer of 2011, and he graduated in May 2012 from Willamette University’s law school.

“I love working in that office with one great group of people to work with,” Chartrey said. “As far as where I would want to be in my career right now, I couldn’t imagine a better place. Everybody around is absolutely phenomenal to work with, from our office to the bench. It’s a great place to be.”

Chartrey proudly admits to being a practical joker. He started when he was a clerk. In the summer of 2011, he filled a co-worker’s office with red plastic cups filled with water. Every flat surface — the floor, the windowsill, even the desk chair — was under water.

Later that summer, he filled the same coworker’s office with balloons.

“He can be entertaining at times,” District Attorney Paul Frasier said. “He’s a little bit of a practical joker, but it’s good to have a laugh every now and then. He’s doing very well; we’re happy with him.”

More recently, Chartrey tricked one of his colleagues into eating ice cream meant to be dog food. To be a good sport, Chartrey ate some himself. He said it tasted like chalk.

Has the boss ever been pranked?

“I think he knows better,” Frasier said.

Chartrey lives in Coos Bay and said he loves the area. He’s still getting used to the slower coastal pace, but the access to hiking and a beach is perfect for him. His plan is to “try and work hard now and be able to enjoy life a little bit later.”

In the past two years, Chartrey has moved from Salem to Coos Bay, from Coos Bay to Germany to study abroad, from Germany to Salem, from Salem to Eugene and finally back to Coos Bay.

“It’s nice to have finally settled in,” he said. “To know that I’m now in a place where I can be settled and start establishing some work experience, it’s nice to have that feeling, especially a place as wonderful as this.”

Chartrey grew up in Eugene and was a Lane County sheriff’s cadet in high school. He worked as a dispatcher while an undergraduate at the University of Oregon.

For now, he’s handling only misdemeanor cases, such as DUII, low-level domestic violence and shoplifting. Frasier says he waits six to eight months before assigning a new deputy to a felony case.

 Chartrey can’t complain.

“I think doing this is one of the best jobs in the world,” he said. “It’s always interesting. There’s something different every day.”

Reporter George Artsitas can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 236, at george.artsitas@theworldlink.com, or on Twitter at @COPSTheWorld.