OLYMPIA — Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney has asked the state’s highest court to reject legal arguments seeking his removal.

Attorneys for Fortney seek a review by state Supreme Court justices of a lower-court ruling allowing an effort to unseat him to move forward, The (Everett) Herald reported Tuesday.

San Juan County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Loring issued a June 12 order approving a synopsis of charges included in a recall petition by the Committee to Recall Sheriff Fortney, a group of Snohomish County attorneys leading the removal effort.

The committee accused Fortney of violating his statutory duties and endangering community peace and safety by saying in an April 21 social media post he would not enforce Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order.

Inslee issued the movement restrictions in March to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

The recall committee also accused the sheriff of exercising his discretion in an unreasonable manner by rehiring three deputies who had been fired for misconduct by the previous sheriff.


The group additionally said Fortney absolved a deputy of misconduct within hours of learning the white officer tackled an African American medical worker accused of jaywalking. They argued Fortney could not have conducted an adequate investigation.

If the Supreme Court upholds Loring’s decision by a July 13 deadline, the recall committee will have 180 days to collect the requisite number of signatures to place the recall on a ballot.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.