Nothing, it seems, is going to persuade Judith Eiler she might be be confusing traffic offenders with serial killers. Not the "adequate" rating the veteran King County District Court judge got from the Municipal League of King County. Not the "not qualified" rating she got from the King County Bar Association. Not even the no rating whatsoever from Washington Women Lawyers. She is who she is, Eiler says, a no-nonsense judge who has been disciplined three times for her demeaning and abusive treatment of defendants - a "judge running amok," as Time magazine put it.
"I will tell you plainly that I am a blunt person. This is the people's court and I speak the people's language. I'm working on my patience every day," she declared.
Mahoney, a former deputy prosecutor (rated "exceptionally well qualified" by the bar association and women lawyers and "outstanding" by the muni league,) said Eiler is the only judge in the state "suspended for her demeanor." That "she is justifying her behavior does disservice to all the other judges to treat defendants with dignity and respect."
Well, said Eiler, being nice just doesn't work. She often asks repeat offenders why they're back. Didn't they get the message the first time? "Almost always they say, 'you didn't do anything to me.'
"Maybe if I had been more forceful the first time," they wouldn't have offended again, she added. "It doesn't work 100 percent of the time, but it does work."