Former Clark County District Judge Randal Fritzler has agreed that he will not seek any judicial office without the approval of the state's Commission on Judicial Conduct. His
agreement was part of censure order made public Friday at a meeting of the commission in Olympia.In it, Fritzler
agreed with a series of charges announced Dec. 8 by the commission, which accused him of violating the state's Code of Judicial Conduct and the terms of a 1996 censure.In both the 1996 and current cases, Fritzler
was disciplined for having sexual affairs with court employees.
Friday's action closes the case.Censure is the most severe disciplinary action the commission can issue, but in this case it is largely symbolic because Fritzler
has left the bench.He
resignation letter Dec. 18; his
last day in office was Jan. 5. A former defense attorney, the 60-year-old Fritzler had been a judge since 1986.
The Hockinson resident now works as an attorney for DCS Financial Inc.
Clark County commissioners will appoint his
replacement by early March.Fourteen attorneys have applied for the job, which pays $116,135 a year.
In 1996, Fritzler
was censured for having an affair with a judicial secretary.The secretary's husband, an attorney, appeared before Fritzler
was also warned by the panel not to repeat such behavior. In his resignation letter to presiding Judge Vernon Schreiber, Fritzler recounted his accomplishments, lamented that they have been marred by "personal failures" and apologized for his boorish behavior.
created specialized courts for domestic violence offenders and defendants with mental health problems.He
has lectured worldwide on the challenge of restructuring the criminal justice system so offenders get an opportunity to recognize and correct their destructive behavior.
The recent alleged affair was with a 40-year-old hired by the District Court
in March 2001.She
quickly passed over employees with more seniority to fill coveted clerk positions.The woman met Fritzler in 1990-91 when she was a student in a course he taught at Clark College, according to the panel.
The commission received a complaint about Fritzler
in September 2002 and subsequent complaints in February and September of this year.The investigation was kept secret until charges were released Dec. 8.The panel does not release the names of people who file complaints.
The panel concluded that Fritzler
violated three canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct by failing to "uphold the integrity" of the judiciary, failing to "avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety" and failing to "perform the duties of the office impartially and diligently."
The agreement made public Friday was signed Jan. 20 by Fritzler
.It says that he
"shall not seek nor hold any judicial office, nor perform any judicial duties in the future without first securing approval" from the judicial commission.In addition, he
agreed that should he
seek any position "involving judicial or quasi-judicial functions" that the commission may release information about his
censures "to a government or judicial qualifications organization."
ON THE WEB The full text of the Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct's censure of former Judge Randal Fritzler