Richard Sanders: Not Exactly a Model of Integrity
Those of you who read The Prof know that I often take issue with Sanders' opinions. I also take issue with his apparent pre-judgment of issues, his lack of belief in a system to govern lawyers and judges, and his general view that anything goes in this society. Yes, he's a true libertarian. But his version of libertarianism would equate to a legal system that does not have the support, respect, or trust required of such a system in order for it to function. We may live in a post-modern society, but there is no such ability to have a post-modern legal system.
Some helpful examples are provided by way of the Charlie Wiggins campaign:
• In 2005 Justice Sanders was disciplined by the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct for improperly personally interviewing sexually violent predators with cases pending before the Supreme Court. Nine judges unanimously agreed that Sanders’ conduct created an improper appearance that he might favor the sexually violent predators [In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Sanders, 159 Wn.2d 517, 145 P.3d 1208 (2006)].
• Judges cannot decide a case in which they have an interest in the outcome, but in 2009, Justice Sanders wrote a majority opinion for the Court that directly benefited him, since he was a party in a very similar case on appeal. The Court was forced to withdraw the decision and hear argument again without Sanders [Yousoufian v. King County, 165 Wn.2d 439, 200 P.3d 232 (2009), on reconsideration, ___ Wn.2d ___ (3/25/10)].
• The justices of the Supreme Court make the final decision for all violations of lawyer ethics. In 2007 Justice Sanders dissented from the decision of the 8 other justices to disbar a lawyer who sexually molested an 11 year old former client. Justice Sanders thought the lawyer should not be disbarred, but only suspended temporarily. [In re Disciplinary Proceeding Against Day, 162 Wn.2d 527, 173 P.3d 915 (2007].