Steven Powell has 'no possible defense,' attorneys in civil case argue
Ted S. Warren, Associated Press
TACOMA, Wash. — Attorneys representing two young girls who were secretly photographed by neighbor Steven Powell have fired back at Powell's motion to dismiss the $1.8 million civil judgment against him.
In court documents filed this week in Pierce County Superior Court, Seattle-based attorney Anne Bremner argued that dismissing a judgment after it has been entered is not possible, not to mention that Powell's arguments for having the judgment dismissed have no merit in the first place.
Bremner said there's no reason not to put Powell's Puyallup house on the auction block on Feb. 7 because he can't live there due to both legal and financial reasons.
"As a matter of law, he cannot 'intend' to occupy a property that he is prohibited from occupying," Bremner wrote in court documents.
Powell, who is representing himself, wants the civil suit against him thrown out because he claims he was not properly notified of the court hearings, making the suit void.
"Steven Powell fails to raise any defense at all, let alone present 'substantial evidence,'" Bremner responded. "He has no possible defense."
In December, a judge ordered the Pierce County Sheriff's Office to sell Powell's largest non-exempt asset, his house at 18615 94th Avenue Court East in Puyallup, in order to start paying off the money he owes in the civil judgment, which with interest is now more than $1.9 million.
Powell, 63, was convicted in May 2012 of 14 counts of voyeurism for taking photographs of two neighbor girls, then ages 8 and 10, with a telephoto lens from his house while they were nude or partially nude in their own bathroom.
He is currently incarcerated at the Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington and is scheduled to be released in March. He recently wrote to jail officials that he planned to resume living at his Puyallup home once he completed his sentence. He said his daughter, Alina, and son John still live there.
"Steven Powell is legally unable to reoccupy his house" because of his incarceration and probation conditions, according to the plaintiff's court filing.
Attorneys for the young girls point out that Powell himself said during a deposition in November that even if he could legally move back into his residence, he couldn't afford it.
"Do you think you'll take up residence in your old house?" Powell was asked during his deposition.
"Well, if my case is overturned, that's my plan," Powell replied, according to court documents.
"What if it's not?"
"Well, it's — it'll, you know — I've got a 30 month probation. So I'll have to figure out something. I'll probably have to sell the house, because there's no way I can — you know, I mean my daughter's been struggling. I don't think there's any way, even with my retirement and my social — I don't think there's any way I could come up with the payment every month, so it's not going to happen," Powell said.
The girls' attorneys concluded in court documents that "the likelihood that Steven Powell would ever actually occupy the property is simply too remote."
Bremner also pointed out in her response that according to statute, Powell's house is currently considered "abandoned" because he has not lived there for more than six months. The abandoned statute holds even if the person vacating the property did so involuntarily, according to court documents.
A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for next Friday.
Steven Powell is the father-in-law of Susan Cox Powell, who has been missing from her West Valley City home since 2009. Investigators believe she was murdered by her husband Josh Powell, who later killed himself and their two young sons.
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