Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Banned in Washington State

Prosecutors, even those who are not part of the Rove Republican Racket, are always looking for a win. They are looking for a lopsided number of successful prosecutions either by trial or by plea bargain.

Now a municipal judge in Washigton State, Ralph Thompson (pictured), has felt the wrath of a prosecutor who saw his cases tossed aside or on the losing side.

So outraged, the prosecutor had the judge banned from hearing criminal cases! They accused the judge of having a "lack of knowledge" but maybe it was more a "lack of following the prosecution."

The Yakima (Washington) Herald-Republic reported Monday:

A Yakima County judge is no longer hearing District Court criminal cases because prosecutors expressed concerns that too many of his rulings showed a lack of legal knowledge. District Judge Ralph Thompson now handles county civil cases and contract judge duties for Grandview Municipal Court, where no complaints have been raised about his decisions. Chief District Judge Kevin Roy said he reassigned Thompson in early November, days after the Yakima County Prosecutor's Office first indicated its attorneys intended to request that Thompson not hear any criminal matters.

Although incredibly rare, state law allows prosecutors to file a continuing affidavit of prejudice against a judge. The so-called "blanket affidavit" means Prosecuting Attorney Jim Hagarty's office doesn't have to block Thompson each time a case is filed. Hagarty said he made the decision only after months of review in hopes that Thompson's decision-making process would improve. And he says he will stand by it, meaning Thompson won't hear criminal cases through 2010.
Interesting the judge had no complaints now that he is hearing civil cases.

This is prosecutorial bias and it is empowered and sanctioned by state law.  State legislators in Washington need to yank this "blanket affidavit" and force a judicial review by an independent body. Prosecutors wield too much power with this in-house political procedure.