Wallace saga continues with lawsuit against county
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
June 16, 2009 · 3:43 PM
Jay Wallace’s feud with Island County continues as the former deputy followed his $500,000 claim of damages with a formal lawsuit.
Wallace’s attorney, Jean Jorgensen of Renton, filed the lawsuit in Snohomish County Superior Court last month against the county and former Sheriff Mike Hawley. It asks for an undisclosed amount of damages, attorney fees and penalties for the improper withholding of documents.
The lawsuit alleges that the Sheriff’s Office inappropriately failed to disclose pertinent evidence that prevented Wallace from presenting a complete defense in an arbitration hearing.
“Defendants ... failed to disclose the fact that a woman’s bra and panties had been taken into evidence, recovered at the precise location in the Shoreview Residence’s living room, where (Wallace) has reported the young woman getting dressed,” the lawsuit states.
Wallace is no longer asking for his job back, as he did in previous litigation. As of Tuesday, his peace officer certification was revoked by the hearings panel of the state Criminal Justice Training Commission, according to Doug Blair, manager of the certification program. That means he can no longer work as a deputy.
Hawley fired Wallace three years ago for shirking his duty and providing false information on a police report. The controversy surrounded Wallace’s response to 911 calls made by a woman in Freeland who claimed she was being assaulted on the night of Feb 7, 2006. The deputy never contacted her in person, even though she called twice.
Wallace wrote in his report that he saw the naked woman through a window and she ran from him. But on the night, he referred numerous times to the person he saw as a male in recorded conversations with a dispatcher.
The state Attorney General’s Office charged Wallace with a misdemeanor for allegedly lying on his report, but the case was thrown out over a constitutional issue. Later, an arbitrator ruled against Wallace and upheld the termination.
Wallace filed a $1.475 million complaint for damages against the county more than a year ago, alleging that Hawley had fired him for political reason. The claim was denied. Then Wallace filed a second complaint against the county last March, alleging that evidence was withheld from Wallace’s former attorney.
Victoria Walker, the woman who called 911 twice, filed a complaint against the county over Wallace’s inadequate response. Officials at the Washington Counties Risk Pool settled the claim for $150,000 in March.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.