Posts tagged: supreme court
My story in the print paper this a.m. had more details about the suspension of Spokane attorney (and former Spokane city councilman, and current candidate for same) Steve Eugster:
OLYMPIA _ After a long-running battle over his handling of an elderly widow’s case, Spokane attorney Steve Eugster has narrowly avoided disbarment.
The state Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Thursday that Eugster should instead be suspended from practicing law for 18 months. He will also have to pay $13,500 to the now-deceased woman’s estate.
“Eugster breached his duty to maintain his client’s confidences, used confidences to take action directly contrary to his client’s interests, and created a nightmare for his client who had to spend $13,500 defending a petition to declare her incompetent,” Justice Tom Chambers wrote for the majority. “However, Eugster’s misconduct was the first in a long career.”
The four-justice minority called for a harsher penalty.
“The only conclusion that can be drawn … is that Eugster should be disbarred,” Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote.
Shawn Newman, an Olympia attorney representing Eugster, characterized the ruling as a win. “Once the bar unanimously recommends disbarment, it is almost unprecedented to get that turned around,” he said.
Eugster declined comment on the ruling. But the former Spokane city councilman, who’s running again for a seat on the council, said he has no intention of dropping out of the race. “Why would I?” he said.
The state Supreme Court has just ruled against state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, who filed suit last year to try to overturn a requirement that tax increases be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.
That voter-approved law is nowhere to be found in the state constitution, and Brown argued that the ballot measure was, in essence, an attempt to change the constitution without actually going through the difficult process of doing so.
The Supreme Court said unanimously today that the dispute at the heart of Brown’s case (a ruling by Senate President Brad Owen) is a legislative matter, not something the court intends to wade into. Writing for the court, Justice Mary Fairhurst said:
Intervention of this court into an intrahouse dispute over a parliamentary ruling to compel the president of the senate to perform a discretionary duty would be a grave violation of separation
of powers. We dismiss the action.
Doing away with the two-thirds rule would have made it easier for lawmakers to increase taxes in the fact of a massive budget shortfall over the next two years.
The Evergreen Freedom Foundation has posted a link to the ruling here.
Justice Debra Stephens writes the majority opinion this morning in a public records case out of the state Supreme Court. Rules for the requestor in a complex case. Justice Barbara Madsen dissented, saying the ruling would upset a delicate balance between penalties for violators and misuse of the records act.
Would post more, but too much going on this a.m.
Hat tip: EFF.