Former county attorney faces OWI charge

Monday, March 30, 2015
Jason Carlstrom

A former Dickinson County Attorney and Iowa Board of Parole chairman from northwest Iowa has been released and awaits a court date following a late night traffic stop in Emmet County.

Estherville Police say they pulled 44-year-old Jason Carlstrom over at 12:45 a.m. Saturday in the 800 block of First Avenue South. He was cited for having an open container in his vehicle and taken into custody on a charge of operating while intoxicated.

Assistant Clay County Attorney Kristi Kuester has been appointed special prosecutor in the case.

Emmet County Attorney Doug Hanson asked for a court-appointed special prosecutor because of previous disagreements with Carlstrom while Carlstrom was Dickinson County Attorney. Emmet County officials say the two offices were at odds regarding a shared domestic violence program and prosecutor's position.

Carlstrom was a private practice attorney when he received the GOP nomination to succeed Rosalise Olsen for Dickinson County Attorney in 2010. He did not face an opponent on the 2010 general election ballot.

He resigned midway through his four-year term in office. On July 3, 2012, Gov. Terry Branstad tabbed the first-term prosecutor to serve as chairman of the Iowa Board of Parole. He was appointed to the state role in September of that year.

Carlstrom submitted his name to have his time as chairman extended earlier this spring, then withdrew his name from consideration, according to Assistant Director Fred Scaletta of the Iowa Department of Corrections. Carlstrom's last meeting in an official capacity was April 17, according to state parole board minutes. Interim Iowa Board of Parole Chairman John Hodges presided over the board's May 1 meeting.

The former Dickinson County Attorney still lives in West Des Moines. He has had 19 separate moving violations since 1994, according to online court records. Only three of the cases, counting the weekend's OWI allegation, have taken place since 2012.

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