Legal Ethics

Panel: Convictions Disqualify Temp Judge

Unless it is over 10 years old, a criminal record disqualifies a lawyer from serving as a judge, even on a temporary basis, in Seattle.

This decision by the King County District Court’s executive committee—as well as a new policy of conducting criminal background checks on all applicants for temporary work on the bench—was prompted by the pro tem service of lawyer Richard Llewelyn Jones, reports the Seattle Times.

For convictions that occurred more than a decade ago, decisions about temporary judge applications will be made on an individual basis.

According to court records, Jones was initially charged with two felonies, second-degree malicious mischief in 2001, concerning an alleged failure to return a rental car, and residential burglary in 2005, concerning “the disappearance of several items from his ex-wife’s home” after a 2004 divorce, the newspaper writes. In both cases, Jones pleaded guilty to lesser misdemeanors, the records state. Jones also owes back child support, according to an order filed this year—which he has appealed.

Jones says this record has been overblown and mischaracterized. “The allegations are misleading and false,” he says.

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