Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibilityState Supreme Court exonerates judge over ‘marginalized communities’ bus ad – DC QUAKE
April 18, 2024

State Supreme Court exonerates judge over ‘marginalized communities’ bus ad

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The Washington State Supreme Court announced Thursday that it has reversed a decision by the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct that a King County Superior Court judge had violated the Code of Judicial Conduct.

complaint was filed against Judge David Keenan in July of 2020 after he appeared on a bus advertisement for North Seattle College.

The ad ran for three weeks in the summer of 2019 as part of the college’s fall enrollment drive.

Along with Keena’s picture, the ad stated “A Superior Court Judge, David Keenan got into law in part to advocate for marginalized communities. David’s changing the world. He started at North.”

Keenan received both his high school diploma and associate’s degree from the nonprofit community college.

The Commission on Judicial Conduct said Keenan had abused the prestige of his office and was using his position for the economic advancement of others. The Supreme Court also said Keenan “did not violate his duty to be, and appear to be, impartial. We therefore reverse the Commission’s decision and dismiss the charges.”

According to the Supreme Court’s filing, Keenan was a juvenile defendant in King County while growing up and dropped out of high school. He eventually took GED exam through North Seattle College.

He did so well on the exam that the dean of students encouraged Keenan to continue his education. Keenan went on to get his high school diploma through the school’s Adult High School Completion Program.

Keenan then earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and a law degree from Seattle University.

He was first elected to the King County Superior Court in 2016 and was re-elected in 2020. According to his campaign website, Keenan was endorsed in 2020 by all members of the state Supreme Court.

The Commission on Judicial Conduct said since judges are required to be impartial and avoid the appearance of impropriety, a reasonable person could read the ad to “suggest that Judge Keenan has a leaning, or preference, and would advocate accordingly for marginalized communities.”

The Commission also argued that if the ad were permissible, then it would also be permissible for other judges to appear in ads saying they advocate for other groups, such as divorced fathers, people accused of sex crimes, or landlords.

The Commission sanctioned Keenan with an admonishment, which he then appealed to the Supreme Court.

This article was originally posted on State Supreme Court exonerates judge over ‘marginalized communities’ bus ad

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