Justice Could Cash in on His Ruling

If you read Tracy Johnson's P-I story today - and you should - on the latest in a series of pratfalls by State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders, you'll find a man who seems to both defend and admit to a breech of judicial conduct. Sanders was the justice who wrote the plurality opinion granting Armen Yousoufian as much as $1 million in his long open-records battle with Exec Ron Sims and King County, which SW has chronicled at length. At the same time, Sanders was involved in his own open records fight, with the state, no less, as SW previously reported. Now his attorneys are saying that since Justice Sanders expanded the penalty for nondisclosure of records, Client Sanders should be allowed to cash in on his own case as well - upping his award from the $18,112 he's already received to as much as $614,670.

Sanders says he's "entitled" to the money, "...it's just fine. It's fair." Yet he admits that in 2006 he sought approval of the court's ethics expert to participate in public-record cases. He thus was aware of the potential conflict - one he'd intentionally stepped into - and likely of the possible direct benefits he'd get in his Yousoufian ruling, yet proceeded to sit. For the cherry on top, Chief Justice Gerry Alexander told the P-I he didn't know Sanders had a pending public-records case - against the state attorney general. Justices, do you talk...or at least Google?

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