case concerns the statutory authority of superior court
judges to order a county clerk to procure a supplemental bond
as a condition for maintaining her elected office. The Yakima
County Superior Court bench ordered Yakima County Clerk
Janelle Riddle to obtain an additional bond and warned that
failure to comply would result in the court's declaring
her office vacant. Riddle sought a writ of prohibition from
this court to prevent enforcement of the order.
the writ of prohibition. The Yakima County judges did not
exceed their jurisdiction by issuing the supplemental bond
order, and Riddle could have availed herself of a plain,
speedy, and adequate remedy at law-an injunction. Thus,
prohibition will not lie. Further, we deny the Yakima County
judges' motion to supplement the record.
was elected clerk of Yakima County in 2014. Her term of
office ran from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2018.
The month she took office, Riddle obtained a public
official's bond, issued by Western Surety Company, of
tenure as clerk was not without conflict. In addition to a
recall attempt, In re Recall of Riddle, 189 Wn.2d
565, 403 P.3d 849 (2017), the state auditor issued reports in
2015, 2016, and 2017, detailing financial deficiencies in
Riddle's office. The reports identify, among other
things, monthly bank account reconciliation problems and
unbilled jury services estimated at $44, 500; untimely
transmittals of child support orders, resulting in $206, 500
lost reimbursement to the county; and misappropriation of
in part on the auditor's reports and concern that
Riddle's existing bond was insufficient to cover
potential claims against the clerk's office, a majority
of the Yakima County Superior Court bench (the Judges)
issued an ex parte order requiring Riddle to "secure and
provide proof of an additional bond for $200, 000, increasing
her office's bond coverage to $400, 000. Accompanying the
order was a letter from presiding Judge David Elofson,
advising Riddle that failure to comply by June 6, 2018, would
result in the superior court's declaring her position
"vacant" under RCW 36.23.020.
counsel wrote to the Judges, arguing that the order was
without legal authority. Riddle asked that the order be
withdrawn or vacated. Presiding Judge Elofson responded that
the clerk's office would be declared vacant unless a
supplemental bond was secured.
2018, Riddle filed in this court for a writ of prohibition
against the Judges. The petition asserted that the
supplemental bond order exceeded the superior court
bench's statutory authority and that its ex parte
issuance deprived Riddle of proper notice and opportunity to
be heard, in violation of due process. Riddle also moved to
stay the order pending a decision on her petition and for
accelerated review, which was granted.
accelerated consideration, Supreme Court Commissioner Michael
Johnston dismissed Riddle's action for failure to show
the superior court lacked jurisdiction or acted in excess of
its jurisdiction to warrant a writ of prohibition. We granted
discretionary review and retained the petition for
determination, maintaining the stay issued by our
commissioner. Riddle and the Judges submitted an agreed
statement of facts and record. The Judges submitted a
nonagreed statement of facts to which Riddle objected. We
passed determination of the Judges' motion to the merits.
asked to decide whether to issue a writ of prohibition
against the Judges of the Yakima County Superior Court. The
state Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in prohibition
actions against state officers. Wash. Const, art. IV, §
4; RAP 16.2(a). A superior court judge is a state officer for
the purposes of original prohibition jurisdiction. State
ex rel. Edelstein v. Foley, 6 Wn.2d 444, 448, 107 P.2d
901 (1940); Wash. Const, art. IV, § 4. A county clerk is
also the clerk of the superior court. Wash. Const, art. IV,
is an ancient writ, dating from the 12th century. James L.
High, Extraordinary Legal Remedies 707 (3d ed. 1896). It has
survived as one of the few remaining artifacts of the English
writ system. Wash. Const, art. IV, § 4; RAP 16.1(b),
16.2; RCW 7.16.290; High, supra, at 707. A kind of
"'common-law injunction against governmental
usurpation, '" the writ of prohibition is a legal
order typically issued from a superior court to prevent an
inferior court from exceeding its jurisdiction. Black's
Law Dictionary 1405 (10th ed. 2014) (defining "writ of
prohibition" (quoting Benjamin J. Shipman, Handbook of
Common-Law Pleading § 341, at 542 (3d ed. 1923)));
Winsor v. Bridges, 24 Wash. 540, 542, 64 P.78O
(1901); see also High, supra, at 715; David
W. Raack, A History of Injunctions in England before
1700, 61 Ind. L.J. 539, 545 (1986).
writ is an extraordinary remedy to be used with "great
caution and forbearance, for the furtherance of justice and
to secure order ... in judicial proceedings." High,
supra, at 709. Washington courts have issued these
writs to prevent an official from encroaching on the
jurisdiction of others and to "enlarge the powers of
their positions." County of Spokane v. Local No.
1553, Amer. Fed'n of State, County & Mun. Emps.,
76 Wn.App. 765, 769-70, 888 P.2d 735 (1995). The writ is
preventive rather than corrective. High, supra, at
710. It issues to arrest execution of a future, specific act
and not to undo an action already performed. Local No.
1553, 76 Wn.App. at 769-70; High, supra, at
a writ will issue is a narrow inquiry. A court looks not to
the nature or extent of injury but to the question of power
and jurisdiction of an inferior court. High, supra,
at 714. A writ of prohibition will not issue to prevent the
commission of error, take the place of an appeal, or serve as
a writ of review for the correction of an error. State ex
rel. N.Y. Cas. Co. v. Superior Court, 31 Wn.2d 834,
838-39, 199 P.2d 581 (1948) (citing cases in support).
these historical considerations in mind, we turn to merits of
the issues presented. We first determine whether Riddle has
met the requirements for a writ of prohibition to issue. As
explained below, we hold that she has not. Accordingly, we
deny her petition. In addition, we decline to reach
Riddle's due process argument because we can resolve the
case on nonconstitutional grounds. Finally, we deny the
Judges' motion to supplement the record.
begin our analysis with the elements of prohibition. Courts
may issue a writ of prohibition "only when two
conditions are met: '(1) [a]bsence or excess of
jurisdiction, and (2) absence of a plain, speedy, and
adequate remedy in the course of legal procedure.'"
Skagit County Pub. Hosp. Dist. No. 304 v. Skagit County
Pub. Hosp. Dist. No. 1, 177 Wn.2d 718, 722-23, 305 P.3d
1079 (2013) (alteration in original) (quoting Kreidler v.
Eikenberry, 111 Wn.2d 828, 838, 766 P.2d 438 (1989)).
Although the common law writ of prohibition restrains the
unauthorized exercise of judicial or quasi-judicial power,
the statutory writ of prohibition applies to executive,
administrative, and legislative acts as well. Id. at
723. The instant petition seeks to restrain judicial action;
therefore, we are concerned only with common law prohibition.
Judges did not act in excess of their jurisdiction
first consider whether the Judges exceeded their
jurisdiction. Both parties offer statutory-based answers to
this question: the Judges contend they did not act in excess
of their jurisdiction because they had authority under RCW
36.23.020 to issue the supplemental bond order. Riddle
responds that such an argument conflicts with RCW 36.16.050.
Both arguments evaluate jurisdiction and statutory authority
as fundamentally the same concept. Assuming without deciding
they are equivalent for the purposes of this case, we must
then decide whether RCW 36.23.020 provides the required
authority. We hold that it does.
application and interaction of RCW 36.23.020 and RCW
36.16.050 appears to be an issue of first impression in
Washington. The meaning of these statutes is a question of
law, which we review de novo, considering the statutory
scheme as a whole. Dep't of Ecology v. Campbell &
Gwinn, LLC, 146 Wn.2d 1, 9, 43 P.3d 4 (2002).
When the judge or judges of any court, or a majority of them,
believe that the clerk of the court does not have a good and
sufficient bond on file, or that the bond is not large enough
in amount, such judge or judges shall enter an order
requiring him or her, within such time as may be specified in
the order, to execute and present to them a good and
sufficient bond, in such sum as may be fixed by the order. In
case of his or her failure to file the bond within ten days
from the expiration of the date fixed the judge or judges
shall declare the office vacant.
counters that RCW 36.23.020 cannot provide unfettered
authority to order additional bond coverage when another,
related provision, RCW 36.16.050, establishes the maximum
amount of a clerk's bond.
Every county official before he or she enters upon the
duties of his or her office shall furnish a bond
conditioned that he or she will faithfully perform the duties
of his or her office and account for and pay over all money
which may come into his or her hands by virtue of his or her
office .... Bonds of elective county officers shall be as
(3) Clerk: Amount to be fixed in a penal sum not less than
double the amount of money liable to come into his or her
hands and sureties to be approved by the judge or a majority
of the judges presiding over the court of which he or she is
clerk: PROVIDED, That the maximum bond fixed for the
clerk shall not exceed in amount that required for the
treasurer in the same county;
(8) Treasurer: Sureties to be approved by the proper county
legislative authority and the amounts to be fixed by the
proper county legislative authority at double the amount
liable to come into the treasurer's hands during his or
her term, the maximum amount of the bond, however, not to
(a) In each county with a population of two hundred ten
thousand or more, two hundred fifty thousand dollars.
(Emphasis added.) Here, the Yakima County treasurer's
bond is set at $250, 000. Riddle argues that securing $200,
000 in addition to her original $200, 000 bond would result
in $400, 000 in coverage-clearly in excess of the prescribed
$250, 000 "maximum amount" under RCW 36.16.050(3)
also contends that the Judges' use of RCW 36.23.020
renders RCW 36.16.050 meaningless. A bond could be properly
approved in the maximum original amount under RCW 36.16.050
and immediately followed by an order to obtain a second bond
under RCW 36.23.020 as a condition of remaining in office,
thereby flouting RCW 36.16.050's limit.
reasoning, however, ignores the plain language of both RCW
36.23.020 and RCW 36.16.050. "If the statute's
meaning is plain on its face, we give effect to that plain
meaning as the expression of what was intended."
TracFone Wireless, Inc. v. Dep't of Revenue, 170
Wn.2d 273, 281, 242 P.3d 810 (2010). "Plain meaning
'is to be discerned from the ordinary meaning of the
language at issue, the context of the statute in which that
provision is found, related provisions, and the statutory
scheme as a whole.' State v. Engel, 166 Wn.2d
572, 578, 210 P.3d 1007 (2009). While we look to the broader
statutory context for guidance, we 'must not add words
where the legislature has chosen not to include them,'
and we must 'construe statutes such that all of the