Educating the Confused – Stevens Cty WA – Clark and De-Facto Officer Doctrine

Jimmy Ellis Clark wrote, in April 2013,  a letter to the editor of the Huckleberry Press:

Their fair share

[…]It has now been four years since I informed the State Auditor, through their whistle- blower hotline, of the failure of so-called public officials in Stevens, Spokane, and other counties, as well as state officials of their neglect to pay the mandatory filing fee relating to their official oaths of office and official bonds. RCWs and case law require the paying of these mandatory fees in order to duly qualify for public office and to be entitled to the right to hold the office and receive the salaries and other benefits related to the office.

Neither the Secretary of State’s Office nor the County Auditor’s Office can produce lawful written authority for not charging these mandatory filing fees, set by the State Legislature State law mandates that if these fees are not paid, the office is vacant.

Mr Clark appears to be unfamiliar with the de-facto officer doctrine and the fact that:

The proper and exclusive method of determining the right to public office is under the quo warranto statute, the pertinent provisions of which are set out in the margin.[3]

Source: GREEN MT. SCH. DIST. v. Durkee, 351 P. 2d 525 – Wash: Supreme Court, 2nd Dept. 1960

In other words, the claims of some random people are of course not sufficient to result in an office being vacated. Anyone familiar with the Common Law writ of Quo Warranto should have known this.

In other words, in spite of the allegations, it still requires a Quo Warranto proceeding to determine if an office is vacant.

It’s unfortunate that some are unfamiliar with the laws of our Nation and the State of Washington. Now, I have no problem with a group of people expressing their opinion about the status of these county offices, but let’s not confuse this with a legally sound position.

In addition to being wrong about the status of the county offices, Clark also is wrong about the concept of de-facto officer doctrine which states that the actions by these officers remain legal and therefor any claims of criminal actions based on their presumed status is ill founded and is likely the reason why Prosecuting Attorney Rasmussen refused to file criminal charges. He seems quite familiar with the law as it applies to these cases.

The Washington Supreme Court has reaffirmed its solid position, see for example

State ex rel. Quick-Ruben v. Verharen, 969 P. 2d 64 – Wash: Supreme Court 1998, citing GREEN MT. SCH. DIST. v. Durkee
Indeed, we have determined quo warranto is the proper and exclusive method of determining the right to public office.Green Mountain Sch. Dist. No. 103 v. Durkee, 56 Wash.2d 154, 159, 351 P.2d 525 (1960) (citing cases).