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Tuesday
Nov032009

401. Mating habits of the domestic judge (western specimen)

A judge without dignity is like a wet cat or a newly-shorn sheep.  And by far the most effective way for judges to denude themselves of dignity is to take the stand in their own defense.  Like Tacoma's Judge Michael Hecht, who explained he went to a porno theater "hundreds of times" in order to buy soup for a quarter from the vending machine.

A former prostitute testified that Judge Hecht threatened to kill him if he talked to anybody about their four-year professional relationship.  That strikes me as a bit more plausible. 

Not plausible at all is the judge's own explanation: that a vast conspiracy was set in motion against him by the sitting judge he deposed at the last election.  As the Seattle Weekly wrote before the jury returned its verdict:

In Hecht's favor is the fact that the accusations against him are coming from people who juries are less likely to trust. Working against him, however, are his own comments. Which are probably meant to sound innocent but come off as really, really creepy.

On the witness stand Monday, Hecht said he's not a sex client but simply a grandfatherly type trying to help people. He says he took one accuser back to his law office after hours to offer friendly advice.

Ahh yes, the old Helpful Grandpa defense. Skeezing out juries since 1922.

(The middle paragraph is from this Seattle News piece.) 

I can't help but wonder if the judge's denial of his sexuality was so deep that he really believed his own testimony that he had never laid eyes on his sex partners.  

Well, the ex-judge's denial, I should say.  After being found guilty, he resigned yesterday, to be effective three days before his sentencing.  Which adds a certain symmetry, because he was sworn in the day after it was first reported that the police were investigating him.  Almost his entire tenure on the bench was spent on paid leave, so what's an extra two weeks? 

The county commissioners responded gratefully to news of his resignation, today voting to eliminate the position completely as a cost-saving move.  After all, eliminating the position would be exactly the same as having Judge Hecht in it, except cheaper.

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