(COLIN HAFFNER/Chewelah Independent)
Jurisdiction disagreement has been ongoing since Jan. 2018…
The legal battle involving the Stevens County District Court, Superior Court, and County Prosecutor is going to the State Supreme Court.
A jurisdictional disagreement between the parties has been ongoing dating back to a Jan. 2018 email from Evelyn Bell, Superior Court Administrator, stating that all in-person first appearance meetings would be seen by Superior Court Judges Patrick Monasmith and Jessica Reeves at noon on Mondays through Fridays.
District Court Judge Gina Tveit immediately challenged the change in scheduling, asking for more information and clarity in this decision before ultimately opting to disregard the request due to what she said was a lack of communication from the Superior Court.
County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen became involved when he filed a Writ of Mandamus to seek a court order directing Tveit to recognize the validity of the Superior Court orders.
The battle has worked its way through the different levels of the courts, with an initial decision from the Lincoln County Superior Court ruling in favor of Judge Tveit before the State’s Division III Appellate Court reversed that decision in a March ruling.
Now the case will go before the State Supreme Court.
With the Stevens County District Court being listed as the petitioner against the State of Washington as the respondent, Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote in a document filed July 10, “Department I of the Court, composed of Chief Justice Fairhurst and Justices Johnson, Owens, Wiggins and Gordon McCloud, considered at its July 9, 2019, Motion Calendar whether review should be granted pursuant to… and unanimously agreed that the following order be entered… That the Petitioner’s motion to file an amended petition for review is granted. The amended petition for review is granted.”