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An attorney wrote that "time is of the essence" as the commissioners are afraid to perform official duties under the threat of criminal prosecution, leaving important functions of county government in limbo and threatening "catastrophic harm to the people of Stevens County."
Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen last week said the commissioners – Steve Parker, Wes McCart and Don Dashiell – would be committing a gross misdemeanor if they continue conducting county business. On Monday, Rasmussen sent a letter to all county employees declaring "the board of county commissioners no longer has legal authority." The commissioners and their attorneys have disputed that.
Two candidates expressed uncertainty about the path to the November general election, only 10 weeks away. While the county prosecutor asserts that all three commissioners have been legally ejected from office after a judge's ruling, county and state officials are mulling whether the local Republican Party and the governor must start a process to appoint short-term replacements.
The commissioners' attorney, meanwhile, disputes that they must be ejected from office and says the prosecutor has threatened to have the commissioners arrested if they continue showing up for work.
A judge on Friday ruled the commissioners aren’t entitled to a lawyer at public expense. The judge also declined to dismiss the suit, in which Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen accuses the commissioners of misspending more than $121,000 from a fund dedicated to fighting homelessness.
In a unanimous opinion issued last week, the high court’s nine justices sided with Stevens County Superior Court judges who sought to preside over preliminary hearings in cases that were originally filed in District Court. Such hearings often determine whether a defendant will be let out of jail while awaiting trial.
In lawsuits brought by the county prosecutor, the commissioners – Wes McCart, Don Dashiell and Steve Parker – are accused of misspending more than $121,000 from a public fund dedicated to fighting homelessness.
A judge will decide Thursday whether the commissioners erred by authorizing the county to cover their legal expenses. In lawsuits started by the county prosecutor, the commissioners are accused of misspending more than $121,000 from a public fund dedicated to fighting homelessness.
The Washington Supreme Court has agreed to review the matter and sort out which judges have jurisdiction over initial court hearings, which often determine if a person will be let out of jail while awaiting trial.
Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen started two lawsuits against the commissioners following a February report by the state auditor’s office, which found they had made an “unallowable gift of public funds.”
In the latest twist of a legal turf battle, appellate judges ruled Tuesday that at a Stevens County District Court judge overstepped her legal authority when she instructed clerks to refuse to file preliminary-hearing orders made by Superior Court judges in Colville.
Chris Courchene, the Kettle Falls police chief, told Stevens County sheriff’s detectives he had twice sent his girlfriend to meet a mysterious suspect and paid $1,250 in hopes of retrieving the weapons. This week, his ex-girlfriend reached a deal with prosecutors that ensures she won’t be charged in connection with the stolen guns.
The Stevens County prosecuting attorney is taking the unusual step of asking a court to review five guilty verdicts amid concerns that defendants’ constitutional rights may have been violated. Tim Rasmussen submitted a request Monday for the District Court to take another look at five guilty jury verdicts entered between August 2013 and last month. During that time, District Court Administrator Nadine Borders ceased sending prosecuting and defense attorneys copies of responses to generic questionnaires mailed to those summoned for jury duty, asking for information including job history, previous interaction with the courts and education level, according to court documents.
Eric Harris, 49, was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison for the shooting death of his 43-year-old brother, Larch, during an argument near Colville in June.
COLVILLE – A Stevens County judge was asked Wednesday to decide whether the shackled 11-year-old boy seated before him, convicted of conspiring to murder a female classmate, posed a threat to society or was a victim of its failures. Ordering a sentence of more than four years, Judge Allen Nielson said releasing him would be a disservice to the community, rocked by the revelation in February that two Fort Colville Elementary students had smuggled weapons into the school with what police said was an intent to kill.
Next month, veterans in Stevens County will have access to a rehabilitative criminal court similar to one that has operated in Spokane County since 2010. Multiple agencies within the Stevens County criminal justice system have collaborated on the project, which has been in development for several years. Superior Court Judge Gina Tveit will oversee a docket beginning Dec. 1 catering exclusively to veterans with problems “making adjustments to civilian life,” according to Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen.
COLVILLE — Calling the trial “the most serious of my career,” a Stevens County Superior Judge found the 11-year-old Fort Colville Elementary student who plotted to kill a female classmate earlier this year guilty of conspiring to commit first-degree murder.
An 11-year-old boy sat in a Stevens County courtroom Thursday, plying a rubber band between his hands as lawyers tangled over admitting a handgun and knife as evidence the gradeschooler conspired to rape and murder a female classmate in February "because she was annoying."
The Stevens County Sheriff’s Office has completed its sexual misconduct investigation of Colville police Officer Rex Newport and has turned the case over to prosecutors. Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said he has formally requested that the state Office of Attorney General handle charging decisions and any potential prosecution of the longtime officer.
The Stevens County Sheriff’s office has completed its sexual misconduct investigation of Colville Police Officer Rex Newport and has turned the case over to prosecutors.