FILED MARCH 15, 2000
WASHINGTON STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Bar No. 4016
Pursuant to Rule 4.14 of the Rules for Lawyer Discipline (RLD), the following Stipulation for Discipline is entered into by the Washington State Bar Association, through disciplinary counsel, Douglas J. Ende, and respondent lawyer, Grant L. Anderson, through his counsel, Kurt M. Bulmer.
ADMISSION TO PRACTICE
1. Respondent, Grant L. Anderson, was admitted to the practice of law in the Sate of Washington on September 16, 1963. Since 1993 Respondent has been a judicial member of the Bar Association pursuant to WSBA Bylaws Part II(A)(3).
2. From 1977 to 1992, Respondent was a part-time municipal court judge for the City of Fircrest in Pierce County, Washington. During that time, Respondent was also in private practice. On January 8, 1993, Respondent was sworn in as a full-time superior court judge for Pierce County, Washington.
3. In March of 1996, the Bar Association commenced an investigation of Respondent's conduct after receiving information from grievant Douglas A. Schafer relating to Respondent's actions as personal representative for the estate of Charles Hoffman. Following an investigation, on August 15, 1996, disciplinary counsel dismissed the matter pursuant to Rule 2.6(c) of the Rules for Lawyer Discipline on grounds that there was insufficient evidence to establish that Respondent had violated the Rules of Professional Conduct.
4. On August 4, 1997, the Commission on Judicial Conduct ("Commission") filed a Statement of Charges against Respondent, alleging seven violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct (CJC). The alleged violations stemmed from Respondent's role as personal representative fro the Hoffman estate, his failure to have himself timely removed as an officer of estate corporations after being sworn in as a judge, and his failure to disclose to the trustee of the trust formed after the estate closed, while the price of an estate asset was being renegotiated, that he was receiving compensation (in the form car loan payments) from the purchaser.
5. Respondent contested the Commission's charges.
6. The Commission held a five-day fact-finding hearing from January 12, to January 16, 1998. Respondent was represented at the hearing by lawyer Kurt M. Bulmer.
7. On April 3, 1998, the Commission filed its decision, dismissing four of the charges but concluding that Respondent committed violations of CJC Canons 1 (requiring judges to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary), 2(A) (requiring judges to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities), 5(C)(3) (requiring judges to regulate extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with judicial duties), and 6(C) (requiring judges to regularly file reports of compensation received for extrajudicial activities) by: (1) continuing to serve as president of the estate's corporations through October 1993, after he had been sworn in as a superior court judge; (2) failing to disclose to the trustee of the trust formed after the estate closed, while the price of an estate asset was being renegotiated, that he was receiving compensation (in the form of car loan payments) from the purchaser; (3) failing to report his receipt of the car payments on his public disclosure filings for 1993, 1994 and 1995.
8. The Commission ordered that Respondent be censured, that he attend a course in judicial ethics, and that he amend his filings with the Public Disclosure Commission for the years 1993, 1994 and 1995, and recommended that the Supreme Court suspend Respondent without pay for four months.
9. The Commission Decision is attached hereto as Appendix A and is incorporated into this stipulation by reference.
10. Respondent and Commission Counsel filed motions for reconsideration. The Respondent's motion contested the Commission's authority to order corrective action in addition to the censure and suspension recommendation. Commission Counsel's motion requested Respondent's removal from office. The Commission unanimously denied both motions on May 1, 1998.
11. On May 15, 1998, pursuant to Discipline Rules for Judges 2(a) and Commission on Judicial Conduct Rules of Procedure 25(b), the Commission filed its decision with the Supreme Court. Respondent filed a timely Notice of Contest of the Commission's decision.
12. On February 12, 1999, in light of the Commission's decision, the Bar Association reopened Mr. Schafer's grievance against Respondent.
13. On July 29, 1999, the Supreme Court filed its opinion on review of the Commission's decision. The Court upheld the Commission's conclusions that Respondent violated CJC Canons 1, 2(A), 5(C)(3), and 6(C).
14. In assessing the appropriate sanction, the Court determined that Respondent had exhibited a pattern of dishonest behavior unbecoming of a judge. Considering Respondent's "refusal to acknowledge the enormity of the effect of his conduct on the integrity of the judiciary and the public's confidence," and the "egregious nature and extent of Judge Anderson's misconduct," the Court concluded that a four-month suspension without pay was too lenient and that removal from office was the proper sanction. The Court therefore vacated the Commission's order of corrective action and ordered Respondent's removal.
15. A copy of the Supreme Court's published opinion is attached hereto as Appendix B and is incorporated into this stipulation by reference.
16. On August 9, 1999, the Commission filed a Statement of Charges against Respondent alleging a pattern of dishonesty and deception (hereinafter "second Statement of Charges"). According to the Commission, the allegations were based upon facts unknown to the Commission until after the completion of the prior proceedings in April 1998.
17. A copy of the second Statement of Charges is attached hereto as Appendix C. The Respondent does not, by entering into this stipulation, admit any of the allegations set forth in the second Statement of Charges, and expressly denies them.
18. On August 14, 1999, Respondent moved for reconsideration of the Supreme Court's decision.
19. On August 20, 1999, Respondent filed an answer to the Commission's second Statement of Charges, denying the allegations of violations of the CJC.
20. On September 2, 1999, the Supreme Court denied the motion for reconsideration and issued a certificate of finality in the case. This effected Respondent's immediate removal from judicial office.
21. On October 1, 1999, upon stipulation of the parties in light of the Supreme Court's decision removing Respondent from office, the Commission dismissed the second Statement of Charges without prejudice.
22. Since his removal from office, Respondent has not sought to transfer from judicial to active bar membership, and therefore has remained ineligible to engage in the practice of law.
STIPULATION TO MISCONDUCT
23. Respondent's violations of Canons 1, 2(A), 5(C)(3), and 6(C) of the Code of Judicial Conduct subject him to discipline pursuant to Rule for Lawyer Discipline 1.1(k).
24. By stipulating to the existence of the Commission's second Statement of Charges, Respondent does not admit any of the allegations set forth therein. In assessing this matter, the Bar Association has assumed the truth of the Commission's second Statement of Charges, considered the potential impact that proof of the additional alleged violations would have had on the appropriate disciplinary sanction, and concluded that the disciplinary sanction stipulated to herein adequately serves the purposes of lawyer discipline.
25. Respondent has had no prior Bar discipline. Before the proceedings leading to his removal from office, Respondent has had no prior judicial discipline.
26. It is stipulated that the ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions (1986) do not strictly apply to violations of the Rules for Lawyer Discipline. However, it is agreed that standard 5.2, "Failure to Maintain the Public Trust," applies in this case by analogy, and that the following standard provides appropriate guidance in imposing a sanction in this case:27. The following aggravating factors under ABA Standard 9.22 apply here:5.22 Suspension is generally appropriate when a lawyer in an official of governmental position knowingly fails to follow proper procedures or rules, and causes injury or potential injury to a party or to the integrity of the legal process.28. The following mitigating factors under ABA Standard 9.22 apply here:9.22(b) dishonest or selfish motive;
9.22(c) a pattern of misconduct;
9.22(i) substantial experience in the practice of law (30 years at time of misconduct).9.32(a) absence of a prior disciplinary record;
9.32(k) imposition of other penalty or sanctions (removal from judicial office; significant adverse publicity).
APPLICATION OF ABA STANDARDS
29. Respondent acknowledges that under the Rules for Lawyer Discipline, violation of the CJC is in itself grounds for imposition of discipline. Respondent agrees that there are grounds for discipline in this case based on the findings of fact and conclusions set forth in the Commission's Decision as adopted by the Supreme Court.
30. It is agreed that the Commission's findings of fact and conclusions establish that Respondent knowingly failed to follow applicable rules relating to the conduct of judges and caused injury to the integrity of the legal process. As stated in Paragraph 26 above, the parties stipulate that, by analogy to ABA Standard 5.22, the presumptive sanction in this matter, taking into account the Supreme Court's determination that Respondent's conduct exhibited a pattern of dishonest behavior, the maximum (2-year) term of suspension is warranted.
31. Applicable ABA mitigating factors, including the imposition of the substantial penalty of a well-publicized removal from judicial office, offset the applicable ABA aggravating factors. for these reasons, the parties agree that a two-year suspension from the practice of law is the appropriate disciplinary sanction.
32. The parties stipulate that Respondent shall be suspended from the practice of law for a period of two years.
33. It is agreed that he date of Respondent's suspension shall run from the effective date of the order of suspension entered by the Supreme Court, and that Respondent shall receive no credit for any period of inactive status during the pendency of disciplinary proceedings.
COSTS AND EXPENSES
34. It is stipulated and agreed that respondent shall pay $750 in costs and expenses (attorney's fees and administrative costs) related to the disciplinary proceeding pursuant to RLD 5.7(h).
35. Respondent Grant L. Anderson states that prior to entering into this Stipulation he has consulted with independent legal counsel regarding the Stipulation, that he is entering into this Stipulation voluntarily, and that no promises or threats have been made by the Association, nor by any representative thereof, to induce the Respondent to enter into this Stipulation except as provided herein.
36. This Stipulation is a compromise agreement intended to resolve this matter in accordance with the purposes of lawyer discipline while avoiding further proceedings and the expenditure of additional resources. Both the respondent lawyer and the Association acknowledge that the result after further proceedings in this matter might differ from the result agreed to herein.
37. Pursuant to RLD 4.14(b)(3), this Stipulation is not binding upon the Bar Association or the Respondent as a statement of all the existing facts relating to the professional conduct of the respondent lawyer, and any additional existing facts may be proven in any subsequent disciplinary proceedings.
38. Pursuant to Disciplinary Board policy, in addition to the Stipulation, the Disciplinary Board shall have all material investigative documents available to it for review, including but not limited to all correspondence from the grievant and all written responses of the respondent lawyer. Pursuant to RLD 11.1(c)(6), all documents that form the record before the Board for its review shall become public information upon approval of the Stipulation by the Board, unless disclosure is restricted by stipulation herein, order, or rule of law.
39. If this Stipulation is approved by the Disciplinary Board, it shall be followed by the disciplinary action agreed to within this Stipulation. All notices required in the Rules for Lawyer Discipline shall be made.
40. If this Stipulation is not approved by the Disciplinary Board, this Stipulation shall be of no force or effect, and neither it nor the fact of its execution shall be admissible as evidence in the pending disciplinary proceedings, in any subsequent disciplinary proceedings, or in any civil or criminal action.
WHEREFORE the undersigned being fully advised, adopt and agree to the facts and terms of this Stipulation for Discipline as set forth above.
DATED this 24th day of January, 2000.DATED this 4th day of February, 2000./s/ Grant L. Anderson
Grant L. Anderson, WSBA No. 4016
Respondent LawyerDATED this 4th day of February, 2000./s/ Kurt M. Bulmer
Kurt M. Bulmer, WSBA No. 5559
Counsel for Respondent/s/ Douglas J. Ende
Douglas J. Ende, WSBA No. 17141
Appendix A. Commission on Judicial Conduct Decision of April 3, 1998.
Appendix B. In re Discipline of Anderson, 138 Wn.2d 830, 981 P.2d 426 (1999).
Appendix C. Commission on Judicial Conduct's second Statement of Charges (Aug. 9, 1999)