The District and Municipal Court Judges’ Association’s Council on Independent Courts has expressed its concern about the recent attack on judicial independence and the will of the voters in Whatcom County, Washington. The issue involves the disqualification of a newly elected judge by the prosecutor’s office, based on his past work as a defense attorney.
Judge Jonathan Rands was elected to a judicial seat in Whatcom County District Court last year, despite the endorsement of his opponent, a deputy prosecutor, by the elected Prosecuting Attorney. It appears that the prosecutor’s office has since sought to disqualify Judge Rands from hearing DUI cases, based on his past advocacy for defendants charged with DUI offenses.
The Council on Independent Courts argues that this attack on Judge Rands is an insult to judicial independence, and sends a message to potential judicial candidates that they will be opposed and prevented from fulfilling their duties if they have been effective advocates for their clients in the past. The Council also notes that the disqualification of Judge Rands has led to additional costs for the taxpayers, who must pay for substitute judges to handle the cases that Judge Rands cannot hear.
An emphasis has been made by the Council on Independent Courts on the importance of judicial independence and the role of judges as neutral decision-makers who must uphold the law and the constitution. It also notes the ethical duty of attorneys to represent their clients zealously, regardless of their personal views, and the potential consequences of allowing undue pressure to influence judicial decisions.
The Council on Independent Courts includes judges from different parts of the state and different types of courts, who share a commitment to protecting judicial independence and promoting fairness and due process in the justice system. By speaking out against the attack on Judge Rands, the Council seeks to uphold the fundamental principles of justice and fairness for all, as required by the Washington State Judicial Canons.
At Victory Legal, we share the Council’s concern about the attack on judicial independence in Whatcom County and support the efforts to ensure that judges can perform their duties without fear or favor. If you are facing criminal charges in Washington State and need legal assistance, contact us for a free consultation and let us fight for your rights and your future. We believe that everyone deserves a fair trial and a competent defense, and we are committed to providing personalized and effective representation for our clients.