The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday took the unusual step of suspending a sitting state court judge — Vance Day of Salem — for three years.
The high court found that Day, first appointed in 2011 to the bench in Marion County Circuit Court, committed “willful misconduct” and made “willful misstatements” to investigators to cover up the truth.
Day acted with prejudice against same-sex couples by deciding he wouldn’t marry them and he instructed his staff to employ a scheme to avoid “public detection” of his plan, the Supreme Court said.
The court singled out as “exceptionally serious misconduct” false claims by Day that he didn’t know a man he supervised on probation was a felon. Day allowed the man to handle a gun twice in his presence even though Day had told him in court that he was forbidden from handling firearms, the court said.
The court also found that Day lied about being assaulted by a referee or sports official at his son’s Chemeketa Community College soccer game.
“We conclude that a lengthy suspension is required, to preserve public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary,” the court’s opinion said.
The suspension is far longer than any other imposed in the Supreme Court’s history, with the exception of two Oregon judges it ordered removed from office: Multnomah County Circuit Judge Shirley Field in 1978 for inability to cope with emotional problems and Josephine County Circuit Judge Kim Jordan in 1981 for accusations that he lied under oath and found a defendant guilty of a crime in the absence of a defense attorney.
Read the full story at The Oregonian