Douglas A. Schafer
Killing the messenger who reports a corrupt judge
In February, 1996
attorney Doug Schafer submitted well-documented evidence of the
dishonesty and fraud committed by a Pierce County, WA lawyer both
before and after he became a Superior Court judge in 1993. The judge
continued to hear and decide cases for more than 3½ years before he was finally
removed for that dishonesty and fraud. Among other things, he had accepted
over $31,000 in secret Cadillac payments from a friend to whom he sold a
Tacoma bowling center from the estate of a deceased client who had
intended to use it to benefit a rural public hospital. The friend paid $660,000 for
the bowling center that then was appraised at $1.8 million.
The Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct actually covered-up most of the judge's
misconduct, recommending a mere four-month suspension from the bench.
However, State Supreme Court judges who reviewed the case saw enough of what they
described as the judge's "pattern of dishonest behavior" to warrant his removal as a
judge, which they finally did in September, 1999.
Disciplinary officials of the Washington State Bar Association never
seriously investigated the judge's dishonest and fraudulent conduct as an
attorney which went well beyond the judicial misconduct that the judicial
authorities had exposed. After the Supreme Court declared that he was too
dishonest to be a judge, the State Bar in early 2000 cut a deal with him to
recommend that he keep his law license with merely a two-year suspension.
Rather than disbarring the former judge, the State Supreme Court approved
the Bar's lenient recommendation. The former judge's law license suspension
ended in May, 2002, and he is again an active lawyer in good standing.
For blowing the whistle on Superior Court Judge Grant L. Anderson, the
Washington State Bar Association disbarred attorney Doug Schafer
accusing him of unethical conduct in revealing information about a judge
that he had learned from a former client.
Doug Schafer is a lawyer in Tacoma, WA and a former candidate for State
Supreme Court. Details about his disciplinary case and that of the judge's
are posted on his Web site: "To Kill a Messenger--for Reporting a Corrupt Judge," at
http://www.DougSchafer.com (accessed Jan. 29, 2003).