Court to parties: “Go fish!”

In an overwhelming victory for bloggers everywhere, Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges denied a Republican request for an expedited schedule in their contest of the gubernatorial election. The next hearing will be held Feb. 4.

He said the old maxim that justice delayed is justice denied has a corollary, “And that is justice hurried is also justice denied.”

Bridges said the speeded-up schedule requested by Republicans would have been “expedited chaos.”

The ruling is a crushing blow to the GOP’s legal strategy, which was relying on “chaos” in the state court proceedings as the underpinnings of their inevitable federal court challenge.

Judge Bridges also denied Democratic efforts to suspend discovery until jurisdictional and legal issues are settled… much to the consternation of Ferry County Prosecutor James von Sauer, who says county officials have no idea why they were named in the suit.

“Even the Republican Party doesn’t know what we did wrong because they are asking all sorts of questions that have nothing to do with Ferry County,” von Sauer told Bridges.

He said to comply with the Republican requests for information would require the auditor to do nothing else.”

“As a county are we obligated to quit serving the public in order to respond? … This is really a serious matter for the small counties.”

Sounds to me like what’s known in legal circles as a fishing expedition. So here’s a suggestion, maybe all the county auditors should just chip in and send Dino Rossi a nice gift basket from my favorite seafood store, Jack’s Fish Spot in the Pike Place Market?

Comments

  1. 1

    Paul spews:

    Ferry County Prosecutor James von Sauer, says,

    “As a county are we obligated to quit serving the public in order to respond? … This is really a serious matter for the small counties.”

    Yes, it is a serious matter and do we think, that the Repugs running this show, care? Nope.

    This is “win-at-any-cost” politics at it’s best – – – the way the Repugs conducted it in Florida, but even better. It’s been honed and adjusted and exported. They will walk all over anyone and hurt the little guy (the little county, too) every time, all the while telling people how they are “looking out for their best interests”.
    This has nothing to do with anything but WINNING at ANY COST! If you are a loyal Republican (misguided, but not a Repug), don’t fool yourself that these people care one wit about you and yours – – – or, our Great State. They are single minded, shark-like predators, operating from deep below the cortex – – – this is “brain stem” politics at it’s best!

    Meanwhile, I see Gregoire has hit the ground running and is effectively working on issues and policies that may actually help people. Perhaps the Vancemeisters will be distracted long enough with their witch hunting to miss the fun as some progressive, people oriented legislation finally gets enacted in this a state.

  2. 2

    Mark spews:

    Goldy, Goldy, Goldy,

    I hate to say it, but why can’t you be more like Christine G or Erik? Both seem to be clearly partisan, but at least recognize the legal basis for discovery. And I have to give them credit for that. If your intent is to be Sharky’s hyperbolic evil twin, you’re succeeding. While I haven’t yet read the ruling, the decisions (PLURAL) seem to indicate that there must be some merit because he denied a stay of the whole thing.

    To paraphrase an earlier Erik comment into a question, “what is unsavory about asking the counties to open their records?”

    It looks to me like target=_blank>one county has some valid points about speed, but also appears to have not followed the law because it didn’t reconcile the votes & voters prior to certification (see her point #6). If she had followed the law, the records would already exist.

  3. 5

    Goldy spews:

    Mark… let’s just set the record straight… Shark is my evil twin.

    And, I’m not really sure what you are talking about. In never implied that they don’t have the legal right to discovery. I merely suggested that they are exercising it in hopes of uncovering legal evidence to back up their unsupported allegations.

  4. 6

    Christine G spews:

    I’m not sure I agree with anyone. Maybe I don’t understand the ruling.

    He said there would be no expedited discovery, not no discovery at all.

    Goldy says this is a crushing blow to the Republicans, who were counting on chaos in the state court as a prelude to a federal court challenge. I doubt this is really the strategy – won’t they end up before the Ninth Circuit in federal court?

    I think the Republican strategy would be to get their hands on as much information as early as possible, so they can keep their pr campaign fed with fresh input and to make sure that the court rules asap. If the court takes a year to rule, I think the public will have moved on. The second concern I would think is legitimate on the part of Republicans.

    I have no way of telling what is or should be difficult for the county auditors. Maybe the Republicans ticked them all off by naming them in the lawsuit, but they probably didn’t have a choice because they haven’t found enough irregularities to feel confident of a win.

    I would think that this is an important enough issue so that we really shouldn’t worry that much about inconveniencing the county elections officials. So, I’m thinking that the Republicans may have gotten a raw deal today.

  5. 7

    Janet S spews:

    I’m having problems with county auditors not being able to supply basic data regarding the election. Snohomish County and Ferry County are pleading it is too much work. King County is so messed up they don’t know which end is up. This is total nonsense. If nothing else comes of this case, at least we will find out who are the true auditors and who are just incompetent party hacks.

  6. 8

    Goldy spews:

    Christine G… my comment was sarcastic.

    As to the county auditors… understand that many of them have elections on levy votes scheduled for February, and already under a time crunch to get absentee ballots out for them. They just don’t have the resources to do their jobs, and respond to what they view as excessive requests from the Republicans.

  7. 11

    Richard Pope spews:

    Comment by Christine G— 1/20/05 @ 4:26 pm

    That depends on what the meaning of the word “was” was …

  8. 12

    Erik spews:

    The ruling is a crushing blow to the GOP’s legal strategy, which was relying on “chaos

    Yes, a blow, but probably not a crushing one. Now that the republicans clearly show that they do not have the goods, having an extended discovery will likely benefit them as they will be able to keep the election contest going for a longer period of time. The order also helps the republicans as it gives them more time to “go fish” for more information.

    My feeling is that the judge is just getting the case, the counties are just now appearing. With all 39 counties sued by Rossi and a number of contests going, it is going to take some time to consolidate the case and address how the contest will proceed.

    I suspect the Washington Supreme Court may have to weigh in before any sort of evidentiary hearing is held to lay down the procedure, if any that will govern the contest.

    It looks like the $4,000,000 re-vote could be just a minro cost in the contest. The litigation costs for the secretary of state and the counties and the extra work for the auditors could easily exceed this number.

  9. 13

    zip spews:

    “Sounds to me like what’s known in legal circles as a fishing expedition.” Well duh Goldy!

    This is the same type of fishing expedition that numerous small business owners have to respond to when they are served with papers. Ever heard of all the lawsuits that are filed in a “shotgun pattern?” This requires anybody remotely connected with, for example, a condominium construction project, to respond when served during discovery. Often at an inconvenience and out of pocket cost that greatly impacts the business. Not to mention the extortion payment, er I mean settlement payment often required to escape.

    Mr. Prosecutor, why don’t you get the staff to work a little overtime to respond? That’s what happens to the private sector employer. Even if he did not budget for the expense.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander on this one. Maybe now a few people will understand why tort reform is such a big deal among small business owners. And not just doctors, either.

  10. 14

    Jim King spews:

    Oh, gee- government officials being made to do the very thing they so often do to small businesses- drop everything, ignore your customers, and spend all your time producing documents that we demand- and then we’ll demand more. The difference is that the small business owner takes a hit on his livelihood…

    Oh, I am just SO sympathetic to these poor oppressed government officials. Should we send to Wisconsin for some cheese to go with their whine?

  11. 15

    Chuck spews:

    As to the county auditors… understand that many of them have elections on levy votes scheduled for February, and already under a time crunch to get absentee ballots out for them. They just don’t have the resources to do their jobs, and respond to what they view as excessive requests from the Republicans.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Forever the excuse maker you are Goldy….If my kids would have had as many excuses as you when they were growing up I may have been accused of child abuse.

  12. 16

    Peter spews:

    If you think an army of well paid and on camera attorneys are in a hurry —

    Final decisions could take 7-8 months.

    R’s lost today, now they have to get back to work and find some fraud.

    Ferry counth has no money. Get real. They don’t like big city fuck heads telling them how to spend scarce resources.

    Note their attorney was on camera and featured early on. No longer in the heard, good strategy for him.

    More time does not mean more case. They have had 8 weeks and all they money in the world. They are looking for conspiracy to comit fraud….letters….emails….phone logs.

    I do not think it is there……beware the forged documents.

    There will be no new election. If Gregoire lost, then Rossi won.

  13. 17

    Nelson spews:

    It seems to me that the GOP effort is now DOA. A court suit that would drag on for months and months will make the whole thing moot. People will forget what its about and Gregoire will have shown a fine ability to govern.

    The cry-baby Republicans have totally ruined themselves in Washington for years and years. I read that the total number of pro-Rossi demonstrators at the Courthouse today was TWO!!!!

    So much for a popular uprising against the Democrats. This is over. The next time you’ll hear from any of these right-wing characters is 2006.

    What a stupid move they made.

  14. 18

    Janet S spews:

    Rossi had to know this had the chance of destroying his political career in Washington. Did he do it because he sincerely wants to clean up the election scandal? I don’t know, but with luck this will play out to the point of cleaning up the system. Then maybe a R can win the next close race.

  15. 19

    Erik spews:

    Wait right there. Stop mocking them, the republicans do have a plan of attack:

    “…Republicans were asking court permission to “rummage through the cemeteries and retirement homes looking for deceased people and people vacationing in Phoenix half the year” who voted in the election.”

  16. 20

    Mark spews:

    Erik, I’m disappointed in you. And here I said all those nice things about you. :(

    Peter, Nelson… You’re probably right… and this is exactly what the Dems are trying to do — drag the damn thing out until nobody cares any more. If they really wanted to count every legitimate vote and get back to governing, they’d say, “either throw the case out now or expedite discovery.”

    Does the GOP have enough in hand right this minute to mount a winning case? Maybe, but it would be like calling a big raise when you’ve got a so-so full house in hand.

    I see two potential wins for the GOP — either a revote or generating enough pressure from the bench and the public to force solid election reform. Historically, the goal of Dems is to get every vote (even if some are illegal) and the goal of the GOP is to make sure every vote is legal (even if some legit voters are disenfranchised).

    Because the current, sloppy system has put/kept Dems in office, the GOP is betting that some sort of a shake-up could give them a better chance. (i.e. “Anything else has got to be better than what we have now.”)

  17. 21

    Erik spews:

    And here I said all those nice things about you.

    Peter, Nelson… You’re probably right… and this is exactly what the Dems are trying to do – drag the damn thing out until nobody cares any more.

    Nice things are not usually permitted on blogs. Its one of the few rules.

    With that said, the democrats and republicans want to win. Read their briefs. The judge is going to hear a motion on the merits at the next hearing. It will be the first test to determine if the judge is going to let Rossi try to “discover” more felons and dead people voting (dang I hate when that happens.)

  18. 22

    HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

    The ruling is a crushing blow to the GOP’s legal strategy,

    Twirly, twirly, spin, spin.

    That “crushing blow” of not granting an expedited schedule amounts to all of 10-14 days.

    Whoop-de-do.

  19. 23

    reggie spews:

    Whatever becomes of this lawsuit…chrissy should shut her pie-hole. Today’s comment that she is sorry the state has to go thru this was misguided.

    Let the process play itself out. If Vance’s vigilantes have something so be it. They are following the process as provided by law. She doesn’t need to comment on it. She’s just pissin off the rest of the state…

    btw you are not Shark’s twin….he uncovers the news…you rehash it.

  20. 24

    Dave spews:

    That “crushing blow” of not granting an expedited schedule amounts to all of 10-14 days.

    That’s 10-14 days longer for the state to get used to – nay, comfortable with – their new governor. You can feign lack of concern all you like, but if this weren’t important your sorry elephant contingency wouldn’t be looking to hurry the court along like it has been.

  21. 25

    jcricket spews:

    btw you are not Shark’s twin….he uncovers the news…you rehash it.

    I think you meant to type “makes up” instead of uncovers. It’s easy for Stefan to get on the news when he’s willing to make mountains out of molehills (read: make outrageous claims with little concern for the fallout once they turn out to be false). He’s a natural fit on right-wing talk radio and Fox “News” (we distort, you opine).

    Goldy, on the other hand, has clearly shown that when there’s an issue he cares about, he’s an activist (as in, doesn’t sit behind his desk like all of us) about it. And I’d bet dollars to donuts that Goldy will have far more effect on this state’s policies than the entire SP gang.

    Their just one more set of disposable pawns in the GOP game.

  22. 26

    Mark spews:

    Erik,

    My understanding — again, without having read the order itself yet — is that discovery can now proceed. This means release of documents at a reasonable pace, (I think) subpoena power and, most of all, depositions under oath.

    I think the real issue will come down to malfeasance vs. fraud and what the required standard is to set aside an election. It is pretty clear (and in some cases admitted) that some gross mistakes were made. This would mean malfeasance — mismanagement of governmental affairs. Fraud would be the kind of thing for which they’d need internal memos from Sims to Logan, etc. — hence the discovery. I’m far more skeptical about them proving fraud, though. They’ve got “smoke” because of the numbers, but the “fire” may just turn out to be smoldering embers and coincidence.

  23. 27

    HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

    That’s 10-14 days longer for the state to get used to – nay, comfortable with – their new governor. You can feign lack of concern all you like, but if this weren’t important your sorry elephant contingency wouldn’t be looking to hurry the court along like it has been. -Comment by Dave— 1/20/05 @ 11:39 pm

    My only concern about her being in office an extra 10-14 days is not the comfort level of the citizens, but rather how much trouble she will cause the state and how much money it will cost those of us that actually have to pay for it. She’s already promising and spending like a stepchild of Teddy ‘D’ (for drunkard) Kennedy

  24. 28

    Dave spews:

    She’s going to be governor for a lot longer than 10-14 more days, you may as well start getting used to it. Besides, you’re obviously not worried about our state spending millions to give Rossi another chance at claiming her office, so enough with the crocodile tears already. You aren’t the only person here who pays taxes!

  25. 29

    RonK, Seattle spews:

    There must be good fishing holes in all 39 counties … somebody oughta put a map together, with recommended tackle, tips, timing, tactics, regulations and restrictions.

  26. 30

    Erik spews:

    I think the real issue will come down to malfeasance vs. fraud and what the required standard is to set aside an election. It is pretty clear (and in some cases admitted) that some gross mistakes were made. I’m far more skeptical about them proving fraud, though

    The truth is no one knows really what the standard is because no one has tried to set aside a governoor’s race in Washington yet. Legal scholars are still trying to determine which if any statutes apply.

    Looks like its going to have to go to the Washington State Supreme Court just to figure out what forum to have the contest in.

  27. 31

    DCF spews:

    Auditors do more than just oversee elections. The Repubs will be hurt by a drawn out legal case in two areas: 1) the citizens of the state will move on to other news; 2) the peoples of the counties will resent the time and money discovery will cost them in tax money.

  28. 33

    G Davis spews:

    “Historically, the goal of Dems is to get every vote (even if some are illegal) and the goal of the GOP is to make sure every vote is legal (even if some legit voters are disenfranchised).”

    You can say this with a straight face Mark?

    As to your comment about the GOP winning either way meaning serious vote reform, I would think a true champion of the people would say all the people win with that aspect, not just GOP.

    Have you been watching the local government channel these last weeks? Reid has gathered many of his auditors and has presented many articulate, thoughtful outlines of reform. He and they have also fairly well dispelled any idea that there was any fraud or malfeasence. Human error, yes…not worthy of all the tax dollars the Reps are so willing to spend on their fishing holiday not to mention another election that very well could turn out just as close as the last.

    What happened to the Rep plank of fiscal responsibility?

    BTW, Ms. Roach has made a complete ass of herself in these hearings. Shameful.