Merced County loses a top lawyer

By Victor A. Patton / vpatton@mercedsun-star.comSeptember 29, 2012 

A lead prosecutor in the Merced County District Attorney's Office is no longer employed by the agency.

Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II confirmed Tuesday that Chief Deputy District Attorney John Goold isn't working for his office.

Goold's employment ended Monday, Morse said. He couldn't elaborate on the circumstances surrounding Goold's departure, Morse said, citing personnel issues.

Morse declined to say whether Goold had resigned or been terminated. "All I can do is confirm he's not working in the office anymore," the district attorney said.

Goold couldn't be reached for comment.

It still remains to be seen how Goold's departure will impact Morse's office. Morse said he hasn't determined whether someone else will be chosen to fill the position.

"We thank John for his service to the people of Merced County and wish him well," Morse said.

Merced County's Interim Public Defender Eric Dumars said although he's not sure how Goold's departure will affect the internal dynamic of the district attorney's office, he doesn't think it will have any effect on the day-to-day operations of prosecutors at the courthouse.

"As a supervisor, he didn't come to court a lot. He handled some big cases, but other than that, he was supervising from above," Dumars said.

He had a good professional relationship with Goold, Dumars said.. "He was affable; he worked hard, and I wish him the best," the public defender said.

A prosecutor with nearly 20 years experience, Goold was one of three lead prosecutors who supervised operations at the district attorney's office.

Harold Nutt and Rob Carroll are the two remaining chief deputy district attorneys.

Goold joined the Merced County District Attorney's Office in 2009. He had previously served as a chief deputy district attorney in both Stanislaus and Napa counties. He was promoted to chief deputy in Stanislaus County in 1999, serving in that position until 2007. He worked as the chief deputy in the Napa County from 2007-09.

Goold served as the spokesman for the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office during the Scott Peterson murder trial in 2004-05.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or

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