Friday, November 21, 2008

Judge accused of being rude, undignified


SEATTLE – At a hearing at the King County Courthouse Wednesday, members of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct listened to testimony against King County Judge Judy Eiler.

In 2005, Eiler was found guilty by the commission of being rude and undignified on the bench and sent to get more training. Now she's facing the same allegations again.

In an unusual role reversal, a parade of witnesses who once testified before Eiler came to testify about her Wednesday.

"I just felt she was very rude, very curt," Tammy Mazanti said." Very mean."

Eiler has been a King County District Court judge since 1992, primarily overseeing cases in civil and traffic court.

Members of the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct on Wednesday listened to audio tapes of Eiler on the bench. In addition, numerous witnesses and defendants from Eiler's past court proceedings described behavior they found rude, sarcastic and intimidating.

"I stood there and she was getting the papers ready and I was smiling because I was trying to be pleasant," Kris Mazanti said. "And she asked me do I think this is funny, and I said no, and she said well wipe that smirk off your face and I was stunned."

Several lawyers who've worked on cases before Eiler also testified they believe her behavior taints the judicial system.

Eiler's attorney said her client has a difficult job hearing 10 to 20 cases a day and pointed out that it's not a judge's job to be warm and fuzzy.

"It's a tough job," Anne Bremner said. "And when you take little snapshots of little parts of cases and what somebody felt when they lost and they have to come into court on it, I think that's inappropriate."

Given that she's been found guilty of rude and inappropriate behavior before, the commission could remove Eiler from the bench.

Testimony could continue through Friday. The commission will likely have a decision by early December.

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