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For week ended February 27, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

Investigation Of Washington Judge That Disparaged Mormons Sought
Seattle WA Post-Intelligencer 25Feb00 D6
By Jack Hopkins: Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter

YAKIMA, WASHINGTON -- In the wake of the allegations that U.S. District Judge Alan McDonald passes notes in the courtroom that disparage Mormons, Jews, Blacks and other minorities, the Washington State Bar Association has asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to investigate him. "The alleged judicial misconduct strikes at the very core of the public's trust and confidence in the impartiality and integrity of our courts," bar officials said in their strongly worded criticism of the judge.

Judge McDonald's notes came to light after they were provided to the Spokane Spokesman-Review by Kathryn Blankenship, a former court reporter in McDonald's court who was fired in 1995. She filed a lawsuit alleging wrongful termination in 1997, which was later dismissed. One of the Judge's notes implied that Mormons were con men.

McDonald has acknowledged writing at least some of the notes, but says that the notes were not intended for the public and are being misinterpreted. But the bar association still finds the notes troubling, "The acknowledged statements about U.S. District Judge Alan A. McDonald involving the practice of writing notes about people appearing before the court . . . go to the very heart of the American judicial system," the officials said. The association says that McDonald's notes are not typical of judges, "To the contrary, the alleged acts and behavior are highly unusual and not representative of normal demeanor and conduct of our judges." The bar licenses and represents the states approximately 25,000 lawyers.


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