Judge reprimanded for suggesting man would be raped in jail | Government and politics
SEATTLE, AP — The Washington state Commission on Judicial Conduct has reprimanded a King County District Court judge for suggesting in court that a defendant would be raped in jail if he did not change his behaviour.
The Seattle Times reports that Judge Virginia Amato, who was elected in November 2018, presided over the arraignment of a man charged with misdemeanor domestic assault and resisting arrest last August, pursuant to the stipulation , to the agreement and warning order signed June 24 by the commission’s executive director, J. Reiko Callner.
Before imposing release conditions, Amato noted that the man’s alleged crimes occurred while he was on probation, the order states.
The man had no felony convictions and could not be sent to prison for misdemeanors, but Amato is quoted in the order as telling him he was settling “to be the new best girlfriend of Bubba at the State Penitentiary”.
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“It can hopefully give you a graphic image to think about…And if you think I’m kidding, I’m not,” she reportedly said.
A confidential complaint was filed in October with the commission, which is responsible for investigating and acting on complaints of judicial misconduct, and Amato received a statement of allegations in December, the order said.
Amato acknowledged that his statements to the defendant violated the Code of Judicial Conduct, but said his comments, “although insensitive and thoughtless, were not motivated by bias or ill will towards the defendant” .
The commission found that Amato violated rules requiring judges to uphold the integrity of the judicial system by avoiding wrongdoing or the appearance of wrongdoing and maintaining appropriate decorum in the courtroom.
The commission concluded that this was an isolated event that was irrelevant. A reprimand is the least severe disciplinary measure that the commission can issue and is intended to warn a judge not to adopt certain prohibited behaviours.
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