Where applicable, the following public
cases may include Commission decisions, statements of charges, answers
to statements of charges, exhibits, and/or supreme court decisions. These
documents are available for download as Adobe Acrobat PDF files.
In re the Honorable Ralph L. Perkins
|CJC No. 93-1474-F-42
In a stipulation and agreement
between the Commission and a judge who had twice intentionally struck
and caused bodily harm to his then-spouse and entered a plea of guilty
to two counts of assault, the judge agreed and stipulated to resign
and terminate his judicial duties no later than December 1, 1993. He
also agreed not to seek or serve in any judicial office in Washington
unless the Supreme Court granted a petition for reinstatement of eligibility.
Court Order filed 11/9/1993.
and Order of Closure filed 10/21/1993.
of Charges filed 9/3/1993.
In re the Honorable Kenneth R. Eiesland
|CJC No. 92-1270-F-41
Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement
with a judge, the Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for using
the telephone in his court chambers to make numerous long distance phone
calls for personal matters not related to the business of the court
and for having court personnel prepare his personal correspondence using
county equipment and supplies on three to five occasions over the eight
years he has served as a judge. After the Commission sent the judge
a statement of allegations, the judge had reimbursed the county for
the use of staff and equipment.
Agreement and Order of Reprimand filed 10/1/1993.
In re the Honorable Michael F. Moynihan
| CJC No. 92-1427-F-40
The Commission publicly admonished
a judge for writing a letter on official stationery and an affidavit
on behalf of a child living in his home, a minor of no relation, to
the American Schools of Correspondence, representing himself in the
documents as a superior court judge, and providing in those documents
legal representation for the minor. The judge stipulated that he had
violated the Code of Judicial Conduct and accepted the admonishment.
Agreement and Order of Admonishment filed 10/1/1993.
Denial of Charges filed 9/10/1993.
of Charges filed 8/17/1993.
In re the Honorable
John G. Ritchie
|CJC No. 91-1110-F-33
The Commission censured a judge
for making improper claims for travel reimbursement and improperly using
county phones for personal long distance calls and recommended to the
Washington Supreme Court that the judge be removed. There were five
trips, one each year from 1987 through 1991, four to Florida, one to
Arizona. The judge was reimbursed approximately $2,750. The Commission
found that travel vouchers submitted by the judge in connection with
the trips contained false and misleading statements concerning the nature,
purpose, duration, and benefit of the court-related business allegedly
conducted during the trips. The Commission also found that the judicial
business that the judge contended that he conducted on the trips was
incidental and insignificant to the main purpose of the trips, which
was personal, and that the evidence most favorable to the judge suggested
that he would occasionally meet for lunch or dinner with a Florida judge
who was a close personal friend and business associate.
The Commission also concluded that judge's length of service and purported
competence were minimized as mitigating conditions given the duration
and nature of his misconduct; that the misconduct was extremely serious,
involving dishonesty and conversion of public funds; and that, although
none of the judge's misconduct was manifested through courtroom activities,
all of it occurred in his official capacity. Noting that the high performance
ratings garnered by the judge underscored the insidiousness of the misconduct,
the Commission stated that sustained and relatively furtive misconduct,
once discovered, not only taints the reputation of the offending judge,
but also the system that had neglected to identify and rectify the situation
in a timely fashion. Noting that only through much searching and effort
was the Commission able to ascertain the facts, the Commission also
concluded that there was nothing to indicate that the judge had acknowledged
or recognized anything wrongful and that, other than the judge's reimbursement
for phone calls after initiation of the proceedings, there was little
to indicate whether the judge would refrain from similar conduct in
the future. The Commission also ordered as corrective action that the
judge make full restitution to the county within 30 days for the travel
expenses and the personal long distance telephone charges. Two members
of the Commission would have recommended censure with a 60 to 90 day
suspension rather than removal from office. One member would have limited
the sanction to censure with corrective action.
Court Opinion 123 Wn.2d 725, 870 P.2d 967 (1994). Filed 4/6/1994
Decision filed 8/6/1993.
to Statement of Charges filed 10/7/92.
of Charges filed 9/18/1992.
In re the Honorable Jerry J. Moberg
|CJC No. 92-1260-F-39
Pursuant to a stipulation, the Commission
publicly admonished a former judge who, while a judge, contracted with
a public university to teach a class for compensation, which was inconsistent
with an advisory opinion issued by the Washington Ethics Advisory Committee
of which the judge was aware, and discussed legal representation with
persons while a judge but after announcing his pending resignation.
The former judge also agreed to make restitution to the university for
the amount received as compensation and not to serve as a judge pro
tem in any court in Washington for four years.
Agreement and Order of Admonishment filed 8/6/1993.
In re the Honorable John R. Junke
|CJC No. 91-1137-F-34
June 4, 1993
The Commission reprimanded a judge
who 1) threatened to cancel the public defender contract of one of the
attorneys who held the contract and had filed several affidavits of
prejudice against the judge; 2) after a deputy prosecuting attorney
presented an agreement with defense counsel that would dispose of the
charges in a case, arrested the deputy prosecuting attorney and held
him in contempt for refusing to have a state trooper arrested who was
a key witness in the case; 3) visited a defendant in jail after the
defendant was arrested on a failure to appear arising out of a traffic
ticket; after the defendant told him the ticket was not his but his
brother's, released the defendant without setting a court appearance
date; and instructed one of his staff to talk to the arresting officer
about the identity of the person who received the ticket; and 4) dismissed
sua sponte a DWI charge against a defendant who had had knee surgery
and could not get into the courtroom when there were other reasonable
alternatives for taking the plea; in a memo regarding the lack of access
to the court for disabled litigants, the judge had suggested he would
not get anywhere with the county commissioners until a highly publicized
case got dismissed or someone fell down the stairs.
In addition to the reprimand, the Commission ordered the judge to 1)
take no retaliation, directly or indirectly, against witnesses or other
persons who cooperated with the Commission in its investigation and
proceeding; and 2) at his expense, attend, participate, and complete
a course on ethics for judges at the National Judicial College in Reno,
Nevada, and, before June 1, 1994, attend another National Judicial College
course of similar duration that is offered to new judges, to be selected
by the judge and approved by the Commission.
Noting that the evidence did not show that a single defendant suffered
unjust or unfair treatment in the judge's court, one member of the Commission
dissented from the sanction and argued that admonishment (which the
hearing panel had recommended) was more than sufficient sanction for
what seemed to be no more than an intramural squabble among members
of a closed system.
Decision filed 6/4/1993.
to Statement of Charges filed 10/12/92.
of Charges filed 9/21/1992.
In re the Honorable William J. O'Roarty
|CJC No. 92-1244-F-38
April 2, 1993
Pursuant to a stipulation with the
judge, the Commission admonished a judge who, during an arraignment
concerning a charge of no valid operator's license, directed insensitive
questions and comments to the defendant related to AIDS. The order noted
that the courtroom was crowded with spectators and others waiting their
turn to address the court and that the judge's comments and questions
appeared to others to be demeaning and to violate the defendant's basic
expectation of privacy.
Agreement and Order of Admonishment filed 4/2/1993.
In re the Honorable Larry W. Larson
|CJC No. 92-1340-F-37
April 2, 1993
Pursuant to a stipulation with the
judge, the Commission reprimanded a judge who had been very argumentative
with officers of the county sheriff's department who stopped a boat
in which he was a passenger on a lake in Idaho. The judge was non-responsive
to reasonable requests for information made by the officers, used abusive
language to the officers and attempted to pick a fight with one of them,
was arrested for being in physical control of a boat while under the
influence of alcohol, refused to exhale into the alco senser III, and
was charged with obstructing an officer in the performance of his duties
and being in physical control of a boat while under the influence of
intoxicants. The actions of the judge became public knowledge and were
widely disseminated by news media, both in Idaho and in the county where
he served as judge until he was defeated in an election. A certified
alcohol agency evaluated the judge and recommended that he attend alcohol
information school, followed by six months of monthly counseling at
an approved alcoholism treatment agency. The stipulation noted that
the judge had never before been sanctioned for any violations of the
rules of judicial conduct by the Commission, he had been forthright
and immediately reported his conduct to the Commission, and had cooperated
by providing information requested by the Commission. The judge had
agreed to the reprimand (he was still serving as a pro tem judge.)
Agreement and Order of Reprimand filed 4/2/1993.
Denial of Charges filed 3/18/1993.
Statement of Charges filed 1/21/1993.
In re the Honorable Robert D. Moilanen
|CJC No. 91-1182-F-29
The Commission publicly censured
a judge and recommended that he be suspended for 30 days without pay.
(1) The judge had asked his clerk during her job interview in 1988 with
whom she associated in the clerk's office and what she thought of women's
lib. (2) After becoming annoyed with what he considered to be clutter
on his clerk's desk, the judge on several occasions removed files from
the desk and deposited them under her desk or in garbage cans or drawers,
making it necessary for her to collect and reorganize her files before
she could proceed with her work. (3) The judge had called his clerk
a "slut" at numerous times in the presence of her co-workers
while at work (for example, he would say "It's time for court,
slut"). (4) The judge had referred to another judge's clerk as
"bitch" even after she asked him not to. (5) After discovering
that his clerk was upset over the possible loss of her dog, the judge
taunted her to the point of tears by portraying a gruesome scene of
discovering a beloved pet dead in the street and saying "Doggie,
doggie, doggie" or "bow wow wow," or "Arf, arf,
arf." (6) The judge had taunted another judge's clerk with a spider
until she became hysterical. (7) In the presence of female court personnel,
in or about the courthouse, the judge had referred to two fellow judges,
respectively as "Big Dick" and "bastard" and told
his clerk that a female employee of another department was a "cunt."
(8) In 1979 or 1980, the judge had told a female attorney in his chambers
(referring to two women who had appeared at a hearing in halter tops),
"God, those nipples. I just love summertime, because you can see
those nipples when the air conditioning is on" and advised the
attorney that lawyers should not show their nipples, that he did not
want to see her nipples, and that she should always wear a bra. On a
second occasion, the judge had told the same female lawyer that he thought
she was crabby, that she should "get laid," and that he had
a single friend she could go out with. (9) The judge had told his clerk
after he learned that she had been invited by a lawyer to a Rotary luncheon,
"You can't go, you have to be a doctor or a lawyer or a judge or
a somebody, you can't be a nothing. You have to be a somebody. If they
let you go, next they'd have to let a goddamn waitress go." (10)
One evening when his clerk was leaving, the judge had said "See
you tomorrow. Now go get fucked." (11) The judge had frequently
gestured obscenely at his clerk with his finger, at times when she was
with other female clerks. (12) The judge had filed a small claims matter
in his own court although he could have brought it elsewhere; his signature
appeared as the judge on the notification of default to defendant because
he was the presiding judge at the time and the signature was applied
by a rubber stamp. (13) The judge had used court staff time, equipment
and/or supplies to get a pumpkin from a farm one Halloween, to do his
personal correspondence; to conduct a search to learn the latest T-bill
rates on one occasion; to arrange for him and his relatives to attend
the races on one occasion; and to attend to his personal travel on at
least one occasion. (14) On the individual county telephone line installed
in his office, the judge had placed numerous personal, long distance
calls, which were charged to and paid by the county and not reimbursed
by the judge. (15) The judge had interrogated a court secretary after
the Commission investigator met with her and, after she reported this
event to the investigator, the judge had asked her about the nature
of the information conveyed to the investigator. (16) The judge had
attempted to interfere with the Commission's investigator by directing
a court secretary to destroy evidence on the court computer that related
to his personal correspondence.
In determining the appropriate sanction, the Commission concluded that
(1) the judge's misconduct was not isolated but clearly part of a pattern
of misconduct, (2) the judge's misconduct was demeaning to court personnel,
primarily female and primarily working in subordinate positions to the
judge and at times was clearly cruel, (3) the judge's misconduct occurred
outside the courtroom but always in and about the courthouse during
the work day, (4) the judge's misconduct occurred in his official capacity
as opposed to his private capacity, (5) while the judge now acknowledges
some of his misconduct, it appears that his acknowledgement came only
as a result of the discipline proceedings, (6) there is no evidence
that the judge has made any effort to change or modify his conduct,
and, although his testimony during the hearing indicated a limited awareness
and desire to change, the judge did not appear contrite before the Commission,
(7) the judge had served in his capacity as district court judge for
14 years, (8) there have been prior complaints against the judge, none
of which resulted in a finding of probable cause, (9) there has been
a substantial and materially adverse effect on the integrity of and
respect for the judiciary, e.g., court personnel were aware of the judge's
misuse for personal benefit of county-provided property, equipment,
and personnel; court personnel and others were aware of the judge's
demeaning and derogatory comments and treatment of others, showing little
or no respect for their feelings; court personnel and others were aware
of the judge's derogatory and demeaning comments and treatment of females
and subordinate staff; and court personnel were aware of the disrespect
the judge has shown for another county official and other judges, and
(10) the judge exploited his position to satisfy his personal desires,
requiring court personnel to conduct his personal private business and
run personal private errands for him.
In addition to censuring the judge and recommending that the Washington
Supreme Court suspend him for 30 days without pay, the Commission ordered
the judge to take the following corrective action: (1) cease and desist
from making disparaging or embarrassing comments while in the performance
of his official duties in and about the courthouse, whether or not such
comments are intended by him as jokes; (2) take no retaliation, directly
or indirectly, against witnesses or other persons who cooperated with
the Commission in its investigation and proceeding; (3) attend, participate,
and complete courses selected by the Commission concerning judicial
conduct pertinent to behavior exhibited by the judge at the National
Judicial College within one year at his own time and expense; (4) within
60 days after completing the courses, develop and propose rules to the
other judges of his court that shall include rules to improve the working
environment and a meaningful method for complaints to be dealt with,
and for true accountability; (5) cause an accounting, at his own expense,
of the value of court resources appropriated by him for his personal
use and tender the amount to the county commissioners at a regular public
meeting; and (6) cooperate with the Commission monitoring of his compliance
with the order.
One Commission member filed a concurring and dissenting opinion. That
member argued that the findings relating to the clerk's job interview
in 1988 and to the comments to the female attorney had not been in the
statement of charges and so could not be the basis of discipline (three
other members concurred as to the job interview finding) and that the
comments to the female attorney may have taken place before the adoption
of the state constitutional amendment in November 1980 creating the
Commission and so could not be the basis of discipline. The member dissented
from the finding that the judge did not appear contrite and argued that
the Commission should not hold a person's lack of contrition against
him or her. Dissenting from the finding that the judge's conduct undermines
the public confidence in the administration of justice, the member noted
that all of the misconduct occurred outside the courtroom and there
was no finding much less evidence that the public as opposed to the
employees of the court lacked confidence in the judge.
The member agreed that the judge had committed misconduct in the use
of court resources and by making inappropriate comments and gestures
to some members of the court staff and that the judge should be censured
and required to take corrective action. Dissenting as to recommendation
of suspension, however, the member stated that the incidents regarding
use of court resources were isolated and trifling and that making telephone
calls that were long distance was inadvertent. With respect to the judge's
conduct toward court staff, the member stated that the behavior did
not result from any venal motive but from his misguided effort to be
humorous or a feeling that he wanted to treat his employees "like
one of the guys." Concluding that the judge was not a lost cause,
that member noted statements from his testimony such as "Things
have changed, there's been -- in recent years there's a change, this
talk of sexual harassment, there's -- what was acceptable a year ago
or two years ago isn't acceptable anymore. . . . I'm more tuned in with
it frankly." The dissenting member noted that no witness testified
that the judge was inefficient in the performance of his duties or that
he was less than judicious on the bench.
Court Order In re Moilanen, No. J.D. 8 (Nov. 1993), filed 11/5/1993.
and Agreement of Censure and Resignation filed 8/31/93.
Changing Three Member Decision filed 4/5/1993.
Denying Motions and Clarifying Commission Decision filed
Decision filed 2/5/1993.
Decision (Three Member) filed 2/5/1993.
to Amended Statement of Charges filed 9/21/1992.
Statement of Charges filed 9/14/1992.
to Statement of Charges filed 5/5/1992.
of Charges filed 4/14/1992.