TACOMA, Wash. — A Pierce County Superior Court judge in Tacoma Friday ruled that Steven Powell needs to pay $1.8 million to the victims of his voyeuristic picture taking.
A court hearing was originally scheduled for Friday for oral arguments to be made in the case. But the judge informed both parties Thursday that enough information had already been submitted to make a decision and she cancelled the hearing.
Late Friday, Judge Vicki Hogan denied the motion to vacate the judgment.
Powell, 63, had challenged the civil judgment against him, claiming the damages awarded to the two young neighbor girls who were the focus of his voyeuristic picture-taking were "excessive."
Anne Bremner, the Seattle-based attorney for the girls who were 8 and 10 when the pictures were taken, argued that Powell didn't have any legal reason for opposing the $1.8 million penalty levied against him other than he simply doesn't want to pay it.
Powell was convicted in May of 2012 of 14 counts of voyeurism. Bremner personally served Powell with the civil lawsuit on the day he was sentenced for his criminal case in June of 2012, but Powell never responded.
After more than a year without a response, Bremner said the civil suit moved into the default phase. As part of the default proceedings, a writ of garnishment was filed against Powell and his credit union last week, allowing the family to take what is currently in Powell's bank account if the judge approves the writ.
Friday, an affidavit of judgment creditors was filed to continue the default process. The affidavit said with interest, Powell now owes $1.9 million. It also noted that Powell "has no assets of any significance."
Bremner has admitted in the past that seeking the money was in part symbolic, but said there is also a real need by the victims for counseling.
Powell has been eligible for early release from prison since May, but he has been unable to come up with a required "offender release plan" that the Washington Department of Corrections will approve. If he fails to come up with one, he will be released in March after serving his entire sentence.
Steven Powell is the father of Josh Powell, who killed himself and his two young sons in Graham, Wash., in 2012. Josh is the husband of Susan Cox Powell who went missing in 2009 from her West Valley City home. Investigators believe her husband killed her.