Washington SC Justice Sanders faces challenge

Kathy Woods Feb. 5, 2010, 2:00pm

Richard Sanders

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline)- Washington Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders faces a challenge this year from a Bainbridge, Wash., attorney.

Attorney Charlie Wiggins says he is running against Sanders over his controversial record.

"I am running against Justice Richard Sanders because he has been found guilty of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct, he has issued a decision that directly benefited him in another case, his decisions are not fair and impartial, and he opposes positive reforms to improve the process of electing judges," Wiggins said on his Web site.

In 2006, Sanders was reprimanded for his visit to the McNeil Island Special Commitment center. A panel of 9 substitute justices found that Sanders "created an appearance of partiality" by questioning inmates and taking documents from them.

Sanders had also attended an anti-abortion rally at the state Capital, stirring controversy.

Sanders has also sided frequently with the Building Industry Association of Washington, a major contributor in his last election, Wiggins said.

"The BIAW has filed friend of the court or amicus briefs in 28 cases. In 25 of those cases, Sanders voted for the BIAW position, dissenting from the majority of judges in almost half of those cases," Wiggins said.

A former judge on the Washington State Court of Appeals, Wiggins left the bench in 1995 to go into private practice. Wiggins is past president of the American Judicature Society's Washington chapter.

A graduate of Princeton University, Wiggins holds a Masters degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii, and received his law degree from Duke Law School.

Sanders was elected to the Washington Supreme Court in November 1995, after 26 years of being in private legal practice.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington and earned his J.D. in 1969 from the University of Washington School of Law.

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