On Tuesday, April 11. 2023, the Commission on Judicial Conduct in the State of Washington appointed Judge Michael Evans as the new presiding officer in the case of Hon. Darvin Zimmerman, former judge of the Clark County District Court.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Hon. Darvin Zimmerman,” with case no. 10260-F-193.

The charges cited Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 1, rules 1.1 and 1.2, Canon 2, rules 2.2, 2.3(a), 2.4, and 2.10 which states:

A Judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.

A judge shall comply with the law, including the Code of Judicial Conduct.

A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.

A Judge should perform the duties of judicial office impartially, competently, and diligently.

A judge shall uphold and apply the law and shall perform all duties of judicial office fairly and impartially.

A judge shall perform the duties of the judicial office, including administrative duties, without bias or prejudice.

A judge shall not permit family, social, political, financial, or other interests or relationships to influence the judge’s judicial conduct or judgment.

A judge shall not make any public statement that would reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or impending in any court, or make any nonpublic statement that would reasonably be expected to substantially interfere with a fair trial or hearing

On March 10, 2022, in the statement of charges it was stated that the Commission was made aware that, after the end of court proceedings on March 9, 2021, a conversation between the respondent and a fellow judicial officer was inadvertently broadcast live via YouTube, which the Clark County District Court was using during the pandemic in order to maintain public access to the court. The Commission made aware that the respondent made racially inflammatory statements about the fatal shooting of a black man by local law enforcement during the conversation. The respondent gave the impression he had special access to ongoing police investigations because he had a relative in local law enforcement.

The Statement of Charges states:

“In the days and weeks that followed, the Commission received dozens of complaints about this incident, including a self-report from Respondent, received on March 15, 2021. Following an independent confidential investigation, the Commission served the Respondent with a Statement of Allegations in May 2021. The Statement of Allegations alleged that the comments made by Respondent during the March 9, 2021 conversation, widely disseminated on YouTube, appeared to violate Canon 1 (Rules 1.1 and 1.2) and Canon 2 (Rules 2.2, 2.3(A), 2.4 and 2.10) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.”

The Statement of Charges continues:

“The Commission alleged Respondent’s comments displayed overt racial bias, indicated a lack of impartiality, and implied that Respondent has a personal channel of communication with the Sheriff’s Department regarding pending and impending cases.”

On November 19, 2021, the Commission on Judicial Conduct made a finding that probable cause exists to believe that the respondent has indeed violated the Code of Judicial Conduct. In relation to the present development of the case, the court issued a notice of a fact-finding hearing.

The Notice of Fact-Finding Hearing states:

“With the retirement of Judge Beth Andrus, the presiding officer is now Michael Evans. The additional panel members are Robert Alsdorf, Ramon Alvarez, Terrie Ashby-Scott, Claire Bradley, Wanda Briggs, Lin-Marie Nacht, Gerald Schley, and LaWonda Smith-Marshall. The Statement of Charges was publicly filed on December 3, 2021.”

Judge Darvin Zimmerman earned a law degree from Gonzaga University. The Judge’s courtroom is located at 1200 Franklin St, Vancouver, WA 98660, and can be reached at 564-397-24. His info can be found on ballotpedia.org.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.