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Can Executive Official Be Removed from Office for "Inciting" Illegal Conduct?

Added 01-15-21 09:21:01am EST - “Yes, when it comes to a recall in Washington State, even when the official is just being accused of violating his duties, not committing a crime.” - Reason.com


Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reason.com: “Can Executive Official Be Removed from Office for "Inciting" Illegal Conduct?”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Under Washington law, executive officials can be recalled if enough voters petition, and then if a majority of voters so vote. But there has to be some allegation of "some act or acts of malfeasance or misfeasance while in office, or … violat[ion of] his oath of office," and courts can reject recall grounds if they don't adequately allege such misconduct. It's not like a normally scheduled election, where voters can throw the bums out for any reason they want. But it's also not like an impeachment process, which is supposed to involve a trial before legislators who decide whether an official's actions fit within the category of "high crimes and misdemeanors."

This matter came up in an interesting context in yesterday's decision in In the Matter of Recall of Fortney (written by Justice Mary Yu):

[Snohomish County Sheriff Adam] Fortney's first four months in office were beset by multiple controversies….

The petitioners alleged [among other things]: (1) Fortney refused to enforce the governor's Stay Home – Stay Healthy proclamation, (2) Fortney incited members of the public to violate the Stay Home – Stay Healthy proclamation …. On appeal, Fortney does not challenge the sufficiency of the first charge and agrees to stand for recall on his refusal to enforce the Stay Home – Stay Healthy proclamation….

Washington voters have a constitutional right to recall nonjudicial elected officials who commit acts of malfeasance or misfeasance or violate an oath of office. For the purposes of recall:


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