WA Judge Admonished For Visiting Sex Offender Center


Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders was admonished yesterday by his peers for violating ethics rules by visiting detainees at a state sex-offender treatment center, including patients with cases pending before the court, the Seattle Times reports. “By asking questions of inmates who were or should have been recognized as potential litigants on issues currently pending before the court, Justice Richard B. Sanders violated the Code of Judicial Conduct,” the judges said in a unanimous ruling. “His appearance created an appearance of partiality.”

Sanders has insisted that he did nothing wrong and that the disciplinary actions against him were unfair. Sanders warned detainees not to bring up the specifics of their cases. He accepted documents from some patients and asked them for their thoughts about “volitional control” – a legal issue that revolves around whether sex offenders acted willfully or were overtaken by irresistible urges. At the time, the court was considering a key case involving volitional control. At least one of the offenders Sanders spoke to was involved in that case. Kurt Bulmer, an attorney who represented Sanders, said the opinion sends a stifling message to judges and forces them into an “inappropriate level of isolation.”

Link: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003325716_sanders27m.html

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