OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – A judge ruled Wednesday that a petition to remove a Washington state county sheriff from office can move forward after he was accused of not enforcing a state mask mandate.

The Olympian reported that Judge Jeanette Dalton heard arguments and decided charges filed against Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza met the legal standard for recall.

Dalton was not tasked with deciding whether the charges were true or not.

The sheriff’s office posted a statement June 24 on social media that said it would not criminally enforce the order but instead educate people.

Attorney Rick Peters argued that the the sheriff was exercising his discretion.

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