Court says McKenna can't deny legal aid to agency

Sep 1, 2011

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Supreme Court is requiring Attorney General Rob McKenna to represent the state's public lands commissioner in a legal appeal.

Justices said Thursday that McKenna cannot deny the commissioner legal representation. They said it was the first time the court had been presented with a case in which the attorney general had refused to represent a state official on an appeal.

Commissioner Peter Goldmark had argued that state law requires McKenna to provide legal aid upon request, but the attorney general refused to appeal a right-of-way case in Okanogan County. The county's Public Utility District won a lower-court case allowing it to run power lines across state trust land that Goldmark manages.