On Tuesday, May 9, 2023, the Commission on Judicial Conduct of the State of Washington granted the motion for stay and protective order filed by Hon. Darvin Zimmerman, former judge of the Clark County District Court.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of David 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.
According to a report, the issue against Judge Zimmerman is rooted in an alleged event wherein 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 was 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 report states:
“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.”
In relation to the matter, on May 9, 2023, the respondent requested a delay in the disciplinary process due to medical reasons. During the hearing, the counsel of the respondent informed the presiding officer that she possessed six letters from medical professionals supporting the motion. One of these letters was given to Mr. Paul Taylor, the Disciplinary Counsel, who was asked to keep it confidential. In an email dated May 4, 2023, Mr. Taylor expressed no objection to the delay or the implementation of a protective order. Additionally, he attached the medical provider’s letter to his email when corresponding with the commission. In lieu of this, the Commission on Judicial Conduct of the State of Washington granted the said motion.
The Order states:
“Pursuant to my authority as Presiding Officer under the CJCRP, CJC Member Policy 4.3, and the Rules Of Civil Procedure, I find there is good cause to warrant a stay of these proceedings. Pursuant to GR 1 5, Judge Zimmerman’s motion to seal the medical record dated April 25, 2023, is granted. The disciplinary hearing set for May 30, 2023, is hereby continued to a date to be determined. A status hearing will take place on May 30, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. to address a stipulated resolution or a process for assessing the viability of a contested hearing. Any stipulated resolution must be emailed to Commission Clerk Aimee Baldoz no later than May 30, 2023, at 8:30 a.m.”
Judge Darvin Zimmerman attended 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.