OLYMPIA (AP) — A judge ruled Wednesday that a petition to remove a Washington county sheriff from office can move forward after he was accused of not enforcing a state mask mandate during the coronavirus pandemic.
Judge Jeanette Dalton heard arguments and decided charges filed against Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza met the legal standard for recall, The Olympian reported.
“An absolute, unilateral refusal to honor the legislators and the secretary of the Department of Health is a classic violation of the oath to follow the law,” Dalton said. “So, for that reason, I am granting the petition.”
Dalton was not tasked with deciding whether the charges were true or false.
The statewide mandate requires residents to wear face coverings in public, with a few exceptions, to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Violators could face a fine up to $100 or up to 90 days in jail.West now will have 180 days to file a petition with about 23,000 signatures so the petition can go before voters, according to an auditor’s office timeline.