On Friday, February 2, 2024, the Washington State Judicial Conduct Commission issued a Notice of Fact-Finding Hearing in the case against Judge Samuel Swanberg. The hearing is scheduled to take place on Monday, May 20, 2024 at the Benton County Justice Center in Kennewick, Washington.

Swanberg, a Superior Court judge for Benton and Franklin counties, has been accused of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct based on allegations of domestic violence, harassment, and improper use of his position. In November 2023, the Commission filed a Statement of Charges with specific allegations that Swanberg engaged in domestic violence against a former spouse, harassed a former romantic partner who was a court employee, and improperly contacted the partner against her wishes while using his position as a judge.

In December 2023, Swanberg filed a written response through his attorney Scott Johnson, denying all of the charges brought against him. Regarding the accusations of harassing and engaging in abusive behavior towards a former spouse and partner, Swanberg’s answer stated that he “denies the following: that he violated any conduct rules through unlawful harassment or a history of abusive or assaultive behavior.”

Swanberg also denied violating any rules by using his judicial position to contact his former romantic partner, who worked for the Office of Public Defense, in December 2021. His answer constituted a general denial of all allegations listed in the original Statement of Charges.

Since Swanberg did not admit to any of the charges, the next step is a fact-finding hearing before the Judicial Conduct Commission. At the hearing scheduled for May 20, a panel including Presiding Officer Kristian Hedine along with five additional members will listen to evidence presented by both sides.

If the panel finds the charges are proven, they can make a recommendation to the Washington State Supreme Court for any disciplinary action against Swanberg. This case originated from a Commission investigation that began in January 2022, following Swanberg’s self-report of being subject to a protection order proceeding and criminal charges for assault against a former spouse, from which he was acquitted.

The notification of the fact-finding hearing date provides the next step in the judicial misconduct proceedings against Judge Swanberg of determining the veracity of the allegations through presentations of evidence at the upcoming hearing in May.

Judge Swanberg’s courtroom is located at 7122 W Okanogan Pl, Bldg A, Kennewick, WA 99336-2359, and can be reached at 509-736-3071.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.