Burien-Based Judge Suspended For “Extreme Rudeness” In Courtroom

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The state Supreme Court has suspended Burien-based District Court Judge Judith Eiler for “extreme rudeness” in her local courtroom.

Eiler has served as a King County District Court judge for nearly 20 years, and, according to documents, had previously received numerous complaints about her behavior over the last 7-8 years. Statements in legal documents describe her courtroom behavior as “rude, intimidating, condescending, or demeaning.”

In the decision, four of the court’s nine judges agreed that Eiler had violated judicial ethics, but instead of the requested 90-day suspension, voted to impost a lesser, five-day suspension.

She had also been previously reprimanded in February, 2005 and April, 2009, for similar violations, but, the high court found, continued to behave “rudely.”

“Judge Eiler’s rude, discourteous, and impatient behavior was certainly unprofessional, but it did not go so far as to undermine the integrity and independence of the judiciary,” Johnson wrote in the lead opinion.

The case document also states:

…Judge Eiler had repeatedly “interrupted litigants; addressed them in an angry, condescending or demeaning tone of voice; threatened to rule against litigants who interrupted or annoyed her; and otherwise failed to conduct herself in a judicious manner.”

King County voters elected Eiler to the bench in 1992, and she has served there ever since, winning re-election many times while managing a caseload that primarily consisted of small claims and traffic infraction matters in which most, if not all, litigants appear pro se (representing oneself as opposed to hiring a lawyer).

The County says that Eiler has heard close to 100,000 such matters during her tenure on the bench.

Here’s Eiler’s full bio as posted on the District Court website:

Judge Judith Eiler served at the Federal Way Division of the King County District Court from 1992 through 2002. In January of 2003, the Federal Way Division was closed and Judge Eiler now serves as a Judge in the King County District Court, Southwest Division. The Southwest Division encompasses the cities of Federal Way, Des Moines, Normandy Park, and Burien. Judge Eiler and her family have lived in Federal Way for nearly 40 years.

Prior to being elected to the bench Judge Eiler practiced law in Federal Way for 12 years. She has been an active member of the Federal Way community. She has been a member of the Federal Way Branch of the American Association of University Women, a member of the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Rotary International and she was a founding member and past president of the Federal Way Women’s Network. She has also been active in Bar Association activities. She has been President of the South King County Bar Association, as well as its Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. She has served as a Trustee on the governing board of the King County Bar Association and represented both the South King County Bar Association and the state-wide District and Municipal Court Judges Association at the Board of Governors for the Washington State Bar Association. Since 2007 Judge Eiler has served as an elected member of the Executive Committee of the American Bar Association’s, Judicial Division for Special Court Judges representing judges from the states of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. Judge Eiler has served on the Executive Committee for the state-wide District and Municipal Court Judges Association and has served as the Assistant Dean of the State Judicial College, as well as chairing the State Judicial Education Committee.

In 1999 Governor Gary Locke appointed Judge Eiler as a Commissioner to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. From 2004 to 2007 she was named as a Judicial Outreach Liaison by the American Bar Association and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to serve the states of Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho. She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Seattle University.

We’re curious to know if any of our Readers have had interactions with Judge Eiler, and if so, are they surprised at this decision? Please leave a Comment below…

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9 Responses to “Burien-Based Judge Suspended For “Extreme Rudeness” In Courtroom”
  1. Ed Dacy says:

    Apparently Judge Judy type is behavior is not allowed in washington Couerts — GOOD

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  2. Judge Eiler is up for re-election this November. She is challenged by me — a local attorney and pro tem judge — this November. The King County Bar Association has rated Judge Eiler “not qualified” for the position and has rated me “exceptionally well qualified”. Judge Eiler has not sat in her own voting district for several years — she has been assigned to Seattle and/or Issaquah since her bad conduct first became a CJC issue in 2004. However, for those who have appeared in front of her since 1992, her behavior has always been this way, has not changed, and will not change. For those who would say that she is just a tough judge making unpopular decisions does a huge injustice to the approximately 200 judges who serve statewide and manage to be tough, deliver unpopular decisions, and still treat people and the process with the respect and dignity expected and deserved. Our citizens deserve better and they have the chance to make that choice this November by voting for an experienced, well-respected, and widely supported Susan Mahoney.

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  3. Coverofnight says:

    Just curious……..how much salary is being paid to Eiler for her rudeness?

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  4. warrenb says:

    You got my vote Susan.

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  5. Stan says:

    She watches too much t.v.

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  6. Julie D says:

    Please nobody tell my husband where he could get that duct tape!

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  7. Stan says:

    Julie, too late!!!

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  8. Patrick D says:

    I have been before Jude Eiler regarding a business matter. Negative statements made by others rmathced her conduct while I was there. She even stepped over the line when the she would not let me repsond to new evidence that the other party introduced. She rudely said “you already responded the claims and said you were finished.” When I attempted to responded to that, she would yell over and said “I will not let you speak.” Just an embrassment to King County. Like other, I did not appeal because it’s too difficult and costly compared to just paying a claim. I’m happy others took action.

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  9. Tammy says:

    DO NOT VOTE FOR THIS JUDGE!!!!! I too had a run in with her in 2005 and 2008 testified against her in court. The 90 days suspension that was lowered to 5 days!!! She needs therapy!!!! Mean old lady!!! Get her out of the court system…she needs to retire……..

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