Alleged squatter of Kirkland mansion pleads not guilty to trespassing

Jill Lane and her attorney, Andrew Magee, appeared at Kirkland Municipal Court Tuesday to contest a trespassing charge brought against her. - Peyton Whitely/Kirkland Reporter
Jill Lane and her attorney, Andrew Magee, appeared at Kirkland Municipal Court Tuesday to contest a trespassing charge brought against her.
— image credit: Peyton Whitely/Kirkland Reporter

A woman accused of trespassing at a luxury home in Kirkland's West-of-Market neighborhood last summer entered a plea of not guilty today at Kirkland Municipal Court.

But her attorney added that there's a lot more to the matter than that, and made a voluminous filing of paperwork to emphasize his point.

The plea was entered by Jill Elaine Lane, of Bellevue, who was accused of trespassing at a house at 435 Eighth Ave. W. on June 15, 2010. A Kirkland Municipal Court commissioner accepted her plea and set a pretrial hearing date of Oct. 12 to consider further proceedings.

However, Lane's attorney, Andrew Magee, filed several motions contesting the case, asking that it be dismissed, and that the city explain why the gross misdemeanor charge was ever brought at all.

Among other arguments, Magee quoted from a Kirkland Police Department report describing how Lane wasn't at the house when police moved to arrest her, and officers instead had to call her on a cellphone so she could be arrested.

"The Kirkland Police Department, using contact information provided via Ms. Lane's prior cooperation with the police, lied to Ms. Lane and lured her to the property to wrongfully entrap her," Magee wrote.

A police affidavit of probable cause prepared on June 17, 2010, contains this description of the arrest, according to public records:"On June 15, 2010...Jill or anyone else was not at the home at this time, however, her belongings were still in the interior of the home to include the bedrooms and garages. I contacted Jill via phone and asked her to respond to the residence. Upon arriving, she was arrested and taken into custody for trespassing first-degree," police reported.

Magee also made several arguments asking that the charge be dismissed, including that nearly 1-1/2 years had passed between the reported trespassing and the filing of charges, hindering Lane's ability to prepare a defense, and that the trespass charge was prejudiced by still another charge, brought in King County Superior Court.

That case was filed in January 2011 and dismissed Aug. 3, 2011, according to court records. Shortly afterward, on Aug. 23, the city brought the trespass charge, Magee noted, compromising Lane's right to defend herself.

"There is no explanation, nor, therefore, justification for this delay and Ms. Lane has been actually prejudiced accordingly," Magee argued.

Court Commissioner John Olson denied Magee's arguments for dismissal and set the October pretrial hearing date, when the city would be expected to respond to Magee's assertions.

The occupation of the Eighth Avenue West home was widely publicized during the summer of 2010.

The home overlooking Lake Washington was valued at about $3 million, but construction had stopped before it was completed and the building had been abandoned and left unsecured for months, with no garage doors or plywood or any other coverings closing off entry.

At the time, people who occupied the home said they were taking possession under a legal concept known as a "Living Trust."

Lane, 31, refused to make any comments at her court appearance and Magee said he would not talk about how Lane came to be aware of the empty home's existence.

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