On Monday, November 14, 2022, the Commission on Judicial Conduct of the State of Washington issued an order to postpone the hearing date in the matter of former Clark County District Court Judge Darvin Zimmerman based on medical necessity. 

The case is styled as ‘In the matter of Hon. Darvin Zimmerman” with case number #0260-F-19.

On December 3, 2021, the Commission issued a statement of charges against Judge Zimmerman alleging violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct. According to the Commission, Judge Zimmerman made disparaging comments about a 21-year-old Black man who was slain by Clark County sheriff’s deputies during an attempted narcotics bust in 2020.

The filing states:

“On March l0,202l, the Commission was made aware that, after the end of court proceedings on March 9, 2021, a conversation between 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 further made aware that Respondent made racially inflammatory statements about the fatal shooting of a Black man by local law enforcement during the conversation. Respondent gave the impression he had special access to ongoing police investigations because he had a relative in local law enforcement.”

The filing continues:

“It is alleged that Judge Darvin Zimmerman, formerly of the Clark County District Court, violated 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 on March 9, 2021, by making comments about a controversial incident and the related impending case(s) that displayed racial bias, indicated a lack of impartiality, and implied that he had a personal channel of communication with the Sheriff’s Department regarding pending and impending cases.”

On January 26, 2022, Judge Zimmerman filed an answer denying all the allegations and asked the tribunal to either dismiss the case or hold an evidentiary hearing to determine if the tape should be suppressed.

Judge Zimmerman’’s Answer reads:

“What is in dispute is whether the video tape can be used in a Commission proceeding when it was obtained illegally? The answer is no. Therefore the Commission would have no authority to proceed in a disciplinary matter because they would be using illegally obtained evidence in their proceeding. Suffice it to say that would not only be illegal, but unethical. The charges placed by the Commission against Judge Zimmerman stem from their review of the illicit recording of the private conversation.

Because the recording was not made in conformance with state law and the Constitutional rights of Judge Zimmerman, the law requires its suppression.”

In its November 14 order, the Commission rescheduled the hearing date for the above-referenced matter. 

The order states:

“Respondent Judge Darvin Zimmerman seeks a stay of this disciplinary proceeding based on medical necessity. Judge Zimmerman has supported this motion with a letter from a medical provider, documentation he requests that this presiding officer file under seal, given the sensitive nature of the contents. Disciplinary Counsel agrees to both the stay and the entry of a protective order.

Pursuant to this presiding officer’s authority under CJC Member Policy 4.3, and the rules of civil procedure, I find there is good cause to warrant a stay of these proceedings. The current hearing set for December 12, 2022, is hereby reset to May 30, 2023. The status hearing set for November 15, 2022, is hereby rescheduled to April 25, 2023, at 4:30 p.m. Pursuant to GR 15, Judge Zimmerman’s motion to seal the medical records attached to his motion to stay these proceedings is granted.”

The Judge 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.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.