Judith Eiler, the County's Embattled 'Judge Judy,' Sentenced to Retirement by Voters

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Voters last week not only did what the state Commission on Judicial Conduct failed to do the past five years - remove Judge Judy from the bench - they did so resoundly. According to the final tally, voters elected former deputy prosecutor Susan Mahoney to replace King County District Court Judge Judith Eiler by a more than 2-1 margin. They bid an emphatic goodbye to the the jurist who has been called "rude, impatient and undignified" since 2005, but always managed to cling to her job.

Mahoney says she was surprised by the victory gap - getting 37,134 votes to Eiler's 14,989. "I thought if anything it would be close," she told the B-Town Blog in Burien, home of the southwest district court where Eiler ruled. "The doorbelling paid off."

So did Eiler's repeat offenses. She thought she was being tough when she told a father trying to speak for his son in court, "He's not a puppet. You don't get to move his mouth." Another defendant, who broke down in tears from Eiler's bullying, said the judge interrupted her answers with insults. Eiler similarly called a traffic offender both "stupid" and "an idiot." But that was the truth, she said. "If I call someone an idiot, they're an idiot."

That style, repeated over the years despite her promises to change, earned regular rebukes from the state commission, a good thumping from Time magazine, and a recent "not qualified" election rating from the King County Bar Association.

"I don't sugarcoat stuff...I don't use a lot of gobbledygook," she once said. "If I wanted people to love me I wouldn't have chosen to be a judge." But after giving her 18 years on the bench, voters last week reminded her who does the choosing.

 
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