Dogged Freedom County backers keep up fight to secede


Herald Writer

They’ve gone to the state capitol. They’ve gone to court. They’ve even gone to the United Nations.

But so far, backers of a proposed new "Freedom County" have failed to find recognition for their breakaway government, except among themselves.

In recent years, local, state and federal courts have all addressed legal claims raised by Freedom County supporters. Each has been dismissed, in part because judges have ruled that Freedom County does not exist.

The state Supreme Court has twice fielded lawsuits brought by Thom Satterlee and David Guadalupe, two men who claim to be elected commissioners for Freedom County. The most-recent case was tossed out of court Jan. 28 in a tartly worded ruling from Supreme Court Commissioner Geoff Crooks.

"Once again, David Peter Guadalupe and Thom Satterlee invite this court to step through the looking glass into the strange world of Freedom County. On behalf of the court, I decline," Crooks wrote.

On April 19, 1999, the state Court of Appeals, ruling in another Freedom County case, upheld a Snohomish County Superior Court judge who threw out a 1997 lawsuit by Satterlee and Guadalupe.

"In the instant case, the trial court concluded that 1) Freedom County is not a lawfully established county of the state of Washington; 2) no action may be maintained in the name of Freedom County; and 3) this case presents no cause of action or any claim against Snohomish County for which relief may be granted," the appeals court ruled.

Freedom County backers began circulating petitions to create the breakaway government in 1993. In April 1995, they presented more than 12,000 signatures to state legislators, calling for creation of the new county. Backers of other secessionist counties did the same.

Legislators did not act on the petitions and in February 1998, a unanimous state Supreme Court ruled lawmakers hands could not be forced.

Among other things, the court found that the mere act of gathering signatures on petitions does not create a new county.

Satterlee has said that the court’s rulings are meaningless because people living in Freedom County have withdrawn their consent to be governed by Snohomish County and are now acting where state lawmakers did not.

Satterlee in 1997 accused state and federal officials of trampling on Freedom County backers’ rights by refusing to assist them in creating their secessionist county.

He and others filed complaints with the United Nations, asking for sanctions, including an economic boycott.

The United Nations Center for Human Rights in New York City declined to take any action.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Port officials and future tenants shovel some earth while participating in a groundbreaking ceremony for Restaurant Row at the Port of Everett on Tuesday, July 23, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Here’s the scoop on sweet additions to Everett waterfront

Two new buildings at Port of Everett will house new ice cream shop, breakfast cafe, fish market, taproom and wine bar.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Gold Bar in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
U.S. 2 reopened near Gold Bar after crash

The crash Wednesday afternoon at Reiter Road east of Gold Bar caused minor injuries. Traffic was backed up a half-mile.

A transit rider steps onto a Community Transit bus on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
What route should new Smokey Point bus route take through Marysville?

By 2029, the Gold Line will connect Everett Station to Smokey Point. Community Transit wants your input on the exact path.

Suspected impaired driver strikes patrol car on I-5 near Everett

No injuries were reported in the crash on northbound I-5 between Everett and Marysville early Wednesday morning.

Public Works Senior Engineer Randy Loveless looks out over Everett’s 101-year-old reservoir at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Reservoir 3 Replacement Project on Tuesday, July 23, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
With looming earthquake threat, Everett breaks ground on $80M reservoirs

Contractors will replace a 100-year-old reservoir east of Evergreen Way with two smaller ones.

Monroe High School (Monroe School District)
Former Monroe High teacher charged with sexual misconduct

In a police interview, Giles Stanton acknowledged relationships with former students, reportedly saying “he felt a bit like Bill Clinton.”

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.