Steven Powell has not raised and cannot raise a meritorious defense. —Judge Vicki Hogan
TACOMA, Wash. — Steven Powell's house apparently will go on the auction block next week.
Saying he didn't present any valid arguments, a Pierce County Superior Court judge has denied all of Powell's motions to have the $1.8 million civil judgment against him dismissed, thus stopping the sale of his house.
In an order released Friday, Judge Vicki Hogan first noted that Powell's claim that the court no longer had jurisdiction over him was wrong.
"He was personally served with the summons and complaint in this action while in the Pierce County Courthouse. Nothing has occurred which would have stripped this court of jurisdiction," the judge wrote her ruling.
Hogan then denied Powell's request for summary judgment, noting "there is no recognized procedure to award summary judgment after judgment has been rendered."
Next, the judge denied Powell's motion to dismiss the civil suit.
"Steven Powell has not raised and cannot raise a meritorious defense," Hogan wrote in court documents.
She also denied Powell's motion to stay the judgment to sell his house.
Powell, 63, acted as his own attorney while trying to have the civil judgment tossed, filing all his motions from prison in handwritten form.
He 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.
Steven Powell 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 scheduled to be released from Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington in March after serving his entire sentence. He will also face 30 months' probation once he is released.
The girls were awarded $1.8 million in a civil judgment that Powell never contested until after it was final. The amount Powell currently owes, with interest, is about $1.9 million.
In December, a judge ordered the Pierce County Sheriff's Office to sell Powell's largest nonexempt asset, his house at 18615 94th Avenue Court East in Puyallup, to start paying what he owes. The house will go on the auction block Feb. 7 if he can't come up with the money.
Even though Powell's daughter and son still live in the house, according to statute, it is currently considered "abandoned" because he has not lived there for more than six months. The statute holds even if the person vacating the property did so involuntarily, according to court documents.
Attorneys for the girls also noted in court documents that not only would Powell not be allowed to live in the house because of his probation, but by his own admission he can't afford the monthly mortgage payments anymore.