Schafer Law Firm
Washington Building, Suite 1302
1019 Pacific Avenue
P.O. Box 1134
Tacoma, Washington 98401-1134
(253) 383-2167 (Fax: 572-7220)

January 11, 1999


Senator Sid Snyder, Majority Leader
Washington State Senate
 
Representative Clyde Ballard, Co-Speaker
Washington House of Representatives
 
Senator Dan McDonald, Rep. Leader
Washington State Senate
Representative Frank Chopp, Co-Speaker
Washington House of Representatives

             Re:    Removal of Pierce County Superior Court Judge Grant L. "Cadillac" Anderson
                      by Joint Resolution of the Legislature pursuant to Washington Constitution, Art. IV,
                      Sec. 9

Dear Legislative Leaders:

        I seriously urge the adoption of a bipartisan joint legislative resolution removing Pierce County Superior Court Judge Grant L. "Cadillac" Anderson pursuant to Washington Constitution Article IV, Section 9, which requires concurrence of three-fourths of the members of each house. Last week, Tacoma's News Tribune reported that Judge Anderson and his friends paid $500,000 to settle the million-dollars-plus claim by Ocean Beach Hospital (on Long Beach in Pacific County) for their fraudulently plundering his deceased client's estate that was left to the hospital. The misconduct occurred both before and after he became a judge in 1993. The hospital was represented by prominent Seattle lawyers from Ogden Murphy Wallace, PLLC, who did not bring such charges lightly.

        Legislative action is needed because the Commission on Judicial Conduct failed to do it's job. The CJC investigated Judge Anderson from early 1996 to mid-1997, charged him only for the misconduct of accepting $31,000 in Cadillac payments from his close friend to whom he made a sweetheart sale of the estate's Tacoma bowling business, then last April recommended merely a 4-month suspension for that kickback. The CJC failed to even charge Judge Anderson for most of the fraudulent and intentional misconduct that formed the basis of the hospital's million-dollars-plus claim. On February 9, 1999, the State Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether or not to approve the CJC's recommended 4-month suspension. There is reason to doubt that the Supreme Court could remove him, based on language in the fifth paragraph of Article IV, Section 31, of the Washington Constitution, since the CJC did not recommend his removal. Thus, he would complete his current term that lasts until January, 2001.

        Judge Anderson's misconduct has received considerable publicity in Pierce County, Pacific County, and throughout in the state (e.g., Washington Law & Politics, Sept. 1998, p. 22). If it were possible under Washington law to recall Judge Anderson, I am confident that Pierce County voters would do so, but it is not possible to recall judges of courts of record. His removal requires action by either a responsible legislature or a responsible judicial disciplinary system. The latter has failed us (and has failed, in my opinion, to implement the 1989 reforms that followed the late Judge Gary Little scandal). The State Bar Disciplinary Office also has failed us, having closed its cursory "investigation" of Judge Anderson and his lawyer friends in August, 1996, with the assertion that there was "no evidence" that they had personally benefitted from the estate that was left to the hospital. (Judge Anderson was represented in the Bar and the CJC proceedings by a former General Counsel of the State Bar.)

        Judge Anderson's misconduct demonstrates his willingness to subordinate any integrity he may ever have had to his higher goal of rewarding himself and his friends. He is a virus in the Pierce County Superior Court, with still many friends in the professions, business, and government. So long as he remains a judge on that Court, nearly every decision emanating from it will be subject to reasonable suspicions of being tainted by him. He must be removed in the public interest.

        I am including with this letter selected materials documenting Judge Anderson's misconduct. If requested, I would readily provide more documentation and assist with the drafting of charges for a joint resolution of removal if the legislature might consider one. I hope that Ogden Murphy Wallace attorneys will recognize their professional and civic duty to assist, as well.

        Thank you for considering this important, nonpartisan matter. This session might be an appropriate one for bipartisan exploration into the efficacy of the lawyer and judicial disciplinary systems of this state.
 

                                                                                      Very truly yours,
 
 

                                                                                       Douglas A. Schafer

Enclosures

cc:    Legislative Members [all 147 were given a copy]
        Governor Gary Locke
        Media Representatives
        Commission on Judicial Conduct
        Steven A. Reisler, Esq., Ogden Murphy Wallace