Petition to recall prosecutor denied by Skagit judge

MOUNT VERNON — A Gold Bar blogger’s latest attempt to recall Snohomish County’s elected prosecutor met with defeat Friday.

Anne Block’s petition for a recall election targeting Mark Roe was rejected by Skagit County Superior Court Judge John Meyer.

The judge’s dismissal order says Block’s claims were factually and legally insufficient to support the idea that Roe engaged in conduct that warrants a vote to potentially remove him from office.

“Mr. Roe exercised his discretion appropriately and within the requirements of the laws of the State of Washington and the Snohomish County Code and consistent with his ethical obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct,” Judge Meyer’s dismissal order said.

Block last year was shut down in a separate attempt to recall Roe. On Jan. 29, she filed recall paperwork, claiming Roe engaged in misfeasance in responding to a federal lawsuit that she’s brought against the county, the city of Gold Bar and several current and former government employees.

Roe broke the law, Block argued, when his office agreed to spend up to $15,000 on outside legal counsel to represent Kevin Hulten, an aide to Aaron Reardon, the former county executive.

Hulten resigned his county job in May 2013 amid the scandal that erupted after The Daily Herald unmasked him as the person using the spoof identity “Edmond Thomas” and other pseudonyms to make a series of public records requests and to set up web pages attacking people he considered Reardon’s enemies. Hulten last year pleaded guilty to evidence tampering for loading a data-wiping program onto a county-owned computer before it could be examined by a detective investigating the misconduct.

Block named Hulten in her federal lawsuit because she was among the people records show that he harassed. He sought legal representation at county expense.

In court papers, Roe said he was disinclined to provide Hulten with a lawyer. But because he’d been harassed by Hulten, too, he asked San Juan County Prosecutor Randall Gaylord to review the circumstances and make the decision.

After review, Gaylord decided that Hulten is entitled to legal representation at public expense in Block’s civil lawsuit, but the prosecutor said that could change depending on evidence that may surface.

In addition to the two attempts at recalling Roe, Block twice tried to recall Reardon, as well as recall efforts aimed at then-sheriff John Lovick and some former Gold Bar officials. None of her recalls have survived legal scrutiny. Regardless, county officials expect she’ll attempt more recall actions. This week, Block posted to her Gold Bar Reporter site that Roe and Lovick will be the focus of fresh recall efforts.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snorthnews

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