CJC No. 9422-F-200
September 9, 2022
From an agreed statement of facts former Asotin, Garfield, and Columbia Counties Superior Courts Judge Scott Gallina stipulated that he violated Canon 1, Rules 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3, and Canon 2, Rule 2.3, of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Judge Gallina violated the Code by committing the criminal offenses of Assault in the Third Degree with Sexual Motivation and Assault in the Fourth Degree with Sexual Motivation against his own subordinate court staff. The Commission censured former Judge Gallina, who agreed to never serve as a judge in the future.
CJC No. 10807-F-202
September 9, 2022
From an agreed statement of facts King County District Court Judge Susan Mahoney stipulated that she violated Canon 1, Rules 1.1 and 1.2, Canon 2, Rule 2.8(B), and created the appearance of violating Canon 2, Rule 2.3, of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Judge Mahoney violated the Code by using the N-word in a staff meeting, by introducing a new judge to a Black staff person as someone who likes watermelon, and by making generalities about Asian or Chinese drivers. Respondent agreed she thereby engaged in conduct that was undignified and discourteous, eroded public confidence in her integrity and impartiality and created the appearance of impropriety since her words could be seen as manifesting bias regardless of her intent. The Commission reprimanded Judge Mahoney. Judge Mahoney did not file for reelection for her office, which term expires at the end of this year. She agreed that prior to seeking or serving in a judicial capacity following the completion of her term in office, she must complete a course of study focused on the impact of inherent bias and microaggressions, approved in advance by the Commission Chair or the Chair designate.
CJC No. 10466-F-201
June 24, 2022
From an agreed statement of facts, Skagit County District Court Judge Jenifer Howson stipulated that she violated Canon 1, Rules 1.1 and 1.2, and Canon 2, Rule 2.5, of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Judge Howson violated the Code by failing to issue timely decisions in three small claims cases. The Commission admonished Judge Howson and ordered her to promptly review the Code.
CJC No. 10533-F-196
June 24, 2022
From an agreed statement of facts, Adams County Superior Court Judge Steve Dixon stipulated that he violated Canon 1, Rules 1.1 and 1.2, and Canon 2, Rules 2.2, 2.3(A) and (B), and 2.8(A) and (B) of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Judge Dixon violated the Code by making a profane comment following a telephonic hearing which could be reasonably interpreted to be directed at a particular attorney creating an appearance of bias or prejudice against that attorney. At the time he made the comment, Respondent believed that he was no longer on the record or connected to the parties, not realizing that the call had not been terminated and he was still on the record. The Commission admonished Judge Dixon and ordered him to promptly review the Code.
CJC No. 10627-F-199
June 24, 2022
From an agreed statement of facts, King County District Court Judge Virginia M. Amato stipulated that she violated Canon 1 (Rules 1.1 and 1.2) and Canon 2 (Rule 2.8) of the Code of Judicial Conduct by telling a criminal defendant at his arraignment hearing that he was 'setting yourself up to be Bubba's new best girlfriend at the state penitentiary,' and adding 'the folks at the penitentiary have mothers and sisters and nieces and cousins that they do not want someone out there abusing, and they will take that out on you.' The Commission admonished Judge Amato and ordered her to participate in one hour of ethics training focusing on appropriate courtroom demeanor.
CJC No. 10535-F-194
May 31, 2022
From an agreed statement of facts, Cowlitz County District Court Judge Debra Burchett stipulated that she violated Canon 1, Rules 1.1 and 1.2, and Canon 2, Rules 2.2, 2.3(A), 2.4(B), 2.5(A), and 2.6(A) of the Code of Judicial Conduct. The stipulation was entered after a Statement of Charges had been filed, and Judge Burchett agreed to a portion of the charges in exchange for a stated discipline. Judge Burchett violated the Code by going off the record during a hearing on a traffic infraction, without giving a reason and dismissing the case, again without giving a reason, when she returned on the record; and by awarding a counterclaim in a case where the defendants had not filed one. The Commission, noting that the judge had been sanctioned the previous year, censured Judge Burchett and recommended a ten-day suspension from office. Judge Burchett also agreed she will not seek reelection at the end of her term nor hold future judicial office without Commission approval. She is required to review the Code of Judicial Conduct within thirty days. The State Supreme Court approved the stipulation and imposed a ten-day suspension without pay.
CJC No. 10556-F-198
April 22, 2022
From an agreed statement of facts, Battle Ground Municipal Court Judge Roger Bennett stipulated that he violated Canon 1, Rules 1.1 and 1.2, and Canon 4, Rule 4.1(A)(3) and (4) of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Judge Bennett violated the Code by contributing to and publicly endorsing a long-time family friend’s candidacy for Mayor of Camas. The Commission admonished Judge Bennett.
CJC No. 9906-F-197
April 22, 2022
From an agreed statement of facts, Cowlitz County District Court Judge Michael J. Imboden stipulated that he violated Canon 1, Rules 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Judge Imboden violated Rules 1.1 and 1.2 of the Code by committing the criminal offense of Reckless Driving and violated Rule 1.3 by creating an appearance that he was implicitly seeking favorable treatment from the arresting officers when he asked them if they knew what an arrest would do to his professional career. The Commission censured Judge Imboden and ordered him to review the Code and make three public presentations related to his misconduct.