Washougal mayor to make Election Day court appearance

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Election Day could provide Washougal Mayor Sean Guard not only an important glimpse into his city’s future but also the future of his misdemeanor case for impersonating a police officer.

Guard will appear before Cowlitz County Judge Edward Putka Tuesday afternoon to learn whether the judge sided with his request to remove the Cowlitz County Prosecutor’s Office from his case, court administrator Delaura Wirkkala said.

Guard’s attorney Kris Carrasco argued Thursday in Putka’s court that the prosecutor’s office failed to provide assurance Aaron Bartlett, a former Guard attorney and current Cowlitz prosecutor, did not share information about the case with his new coworkers.

Putka decided afterward to postpone his decision until 4 p.m. Tuesday. Later that evening results will be announced for Washougal’s four city council races.

Guard entered a not guilty plea July 11 to a charge of second-degree criminal impersonation for allegedly using the emergency lights on his city-owned vehicle to get past slower traffic on Interstate 5 near Kelso on Dec. 24, 2010.

Guard was previously scheduled to go to trial Oct. 21. However, Guard received a continuance due to an attorney change.

Putka is the second judge to hear Guard’s case.

Previously, Guard’s then-attorney Luka Vitasovic filed an “affidavit of prejudice” against Judge David Koss asking for him to be removed. The affidavit did not list a reason for the request, nor did it need to, Wirkkala said.

Shortly after Koss’ removal, Guard referred questions about the matter to Vitasovic, who has since moved to the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office.

Carrasco did not return a phone call Friday morning seeking comment on the case.