Mayor David Condon is not expected to be in the courtroom Tuesday afternoon as a visiting judge will decide if a recall petition against him can move on to the signature-gathering phase.
Yakima County Superior Court Judge Blaine Gibson will hear arguments beginning at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Spokane. Gibson doesn't have to rule Tuesday, but in most cases - including a June 2005 hearing on the recall of Mayor Jim West - a decision is made in the courtroom the same day.
Petition organizer David Green will have to convince Gibson that his petition - alleging four charges of "misfeasance, malfeasance and violation of oath of office" in Condon's handling of former Police Chief Frank Straub's ouster and installing Craig Meidl as his replacement - is both legally and factually sufficient to go to voters to decide if Condon should be removed from office. It's a higher standard than in other states, and in most cases when a judge rules a recall is worthy of the ballot, the elected official is recalled, according to data from county auditors throughout the state.
Condon or Green can appeal Gibson's ruling directly to the Supreme Court following Tuesday's hearing. If that doesn't occur, and Gibson rules in Green's favor Tuesday, the petition organizer would have until the end of March to gather the roughly 13,000 signatures needed to put the question before voters.
Follow me and reporter Rachel Alexander on Twitter for updates from the courtroom this afternoon: