Small victory for Barton family in ongoing eviction saga

The King County Superior Court has denied Triangle Properties petition for a “Writ of mandamus”

By Tim Clifford

​After a hearing on Aug. 8 the King County Superior Court today denied a “writ of mandamus” petition from Triangle Properties Development filed against the Mayor and city of Seattle in the Barton family eviction case.

​The petition alleged that the mayor and the chief of police were obligated to remove and arrest the Barton family after they successfully reentered their home following an eviction attempt by the King County Sheriff’s office last month.
​According to court’s documents concerning their rejection of the petition “the mayor and chief of police have discretion to decide whether to arrest or remove a trespasser” and that “the mayor does not have authority to make arrests and the Chief of Police and the officers under her control have discretion whether or not to arrest the Bartons”.

​The court documents go on to say that the writ could only have been issued if no other “remedy” were available to the current situation and that for Triangle Properties “other adequate remedies available”. Examples provided in the documents include an “ejectment action” or a second “writ of execution”, essentially bringing the King County Sheriff’s office back into the mix and compelling them to perform a second eviction.

​An official statement was issued by the Mayor’s office concerning the decision.

In it the mayor says of the decision:
“Today, the judge decided that SPD acted properly in exercising its discretion over the past three weeks. The judge also ruled that the responsibility to execute any court order to remove the Bartons lies with King County. Triangle Properties now has the option to seek a writ against the King County Sheriff’s Office to proceed with the eviction.”

​The mayor also mentions that after visits from the Office of Housing and Human Services Department that options for relocation and assistance were provided to the Barton family, none of which they have acted on at this time.

The Barton family’s lawyer could not be reached for comment at this time.
The Barton family was evicted from their home by the King County Sheriff’s office on July 18 amid heavy protest from S.A.F.E. (Standing Against Foreclosure & Eviction). The family managed to find a way back inside the home later that day and it was decided by the mayor’ office as well as the Chief of police that the family would not be arrested for trespassing until after their remaining court proceedings with Triangle Properties.

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