Thursday, May 14, 2009
A majority of the Washington State Supreme Court has held that one of its justices may not be defended or reimbursed for the costs of defending an ethics complaint:
Justice Richard Sanders seeks review of the Court of Appeals decision that the State has no duty to defend him or to reimburse him for attorney fees he incurred in defending himself before the Commission on Judicial Conduct. At issue is whether the State is required to defend a judge who is alleged to have committed an ethics violation while otherwise within the purview of his or her official duties.
We affirm the Court of Appeals, holding the State has no duty to defend when a judge knows or should know that the conduct of which he or she is accused is
unethical and therefore not an official act.