King County Judicial Candidate Admonished for Making Defendant “Tattoo” Court Date on His Arm

Comments

1

I'm impressed that he had a henna artist available on such short notice, though.

3

This is an example of events and patterns. Everyone makes bone-headed mistakes, in every profession, so let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

If it, or similar, happens again, it's starts to be a pattern and is unacceptable.

5

But did it work? Did he pay his child support and show up at the next court date?

6

Zactly, @5; or did the ink fade before the court date
leaving this soon-to-be-deadbeat-dad a most convenient excuse?

And his ass in Jail? If we're gonna judge this 'judge,'
we're gonna need some Followup here, Lester.

7

I've been a family law attorney for over 40 years and have known Commissioner Ponomarchuk for over 20 years and been in front of him many, many times. First, calling a family law court commissioner a "pseudo judge appointed to rule on lower level judicial matters" is a completely offensive, and inaccurate, description of that job. These court commissioners rule on DV orders, pretty much all pre trial issues in a divorce or other family law proceeding, and a wide variety of other matters. It's a huge job that impacts many people. The Order of Admonishment noted that "The job of a family court commissioner is important, difficult, and stressful. The people they interact with are often unrepresented and cannot or will not comply with basic family and other responsibilities." They are absolutely right. Second, you should have noted that the CJC also noted that Ponomarchuk "has a reputation for being a competent, conscientious and knowledgeable judicial officer." And they are right about that too.

8

The Order of Admonishment also says "On at least three occasions since 2013, the court has disciplined [Ponomarchuk] and imposed remedial measures in response to demeanor issues. Thus, while the conduct resulting in this disciplinary action concerns a single incident, [Ponomarchuk]’s misconduct is not considered isolated, but rather represents a pattern of similar behavior. . . . [Ponomarchuk] appears to have responded to the repetitive and contentious nature of the work by expressing cynicism or a lack of compassion for some members of the public who appear before him. . . . Since 2013, [Ponomarchuk]’s problematic demeanor issues garnered progressive sanctions, including suspension without pay . . . . He was abundantly put on notice that his demeanor as a judicial officer must be appropriate in his work for the court, and that his demeanor is reviewed regularly." It also says the sanction would have been worse if he hadn't already been subject to "significant" sanctions for this and other misconduct.

You can read the order here: https://www.cjc.state.wa.us/materials/activity/public_actions/2018/8838FinalStip.pdf

A huge part of being a district court judge involves interacting with indigent persons who have a difficult time remembering court dates and handling their responsibilities. Responding to that with "cynicism" and "a lack of compassion" is, to put it mildly, highly problematic.

10

Luke123 I suggest you go watch the family law motions calendar for two weeks and see what is involved in that work. Ponomarchuk has been dealing with that calendar for 20 years, with as much success as is possible, in my opinion. It is incredibly demanding. Sugarbear has a good point too, in asking whether the party paid his child support and/or showed up at the next hearing. I am not endorsing the behavior (and neither is Ponomarchuk) but the problems that come up on that calendar are significant and the solutions are not always easy.

11

I don't think I've ever seen the family law motions calendar. I have observed the contempt of court calendar (3-4 weeks), which is where it sounds like the "tattoo" incident occurred. (I don't recall seeing Commissioner Ponomarchuk, though its entirely possible I did.) And I'm very, very familiar with district court, which is where the position he's running for is.

12

I object to telling the defendant that he wanted him to literally write on his arm with a pen, using the words "I'm serious" to emphasize that the judge was not speaking metaphorically. And yet, he used the word "tattoo" for that. That isn't what "tattoo" means. Educated people are supposed to know the basic meaning of common words like "tattoo".

So we have a guy who issues unusual instructions unlike anyone is used to hearing from a judge, and the language he uses to specific exactly what he wants done is either incorrect or inexplicably metaphorical. Judges in complex cases involving unique family situations often have to issue unique instructions. Here is a guy who has some kind of English language problem. Doesn't know when you shouldn't be flowery and poetic with the metaphors, or else doesn't know what "tattoo".

Whatever it is, something ain't right. I be he capitalizes common nouns for emphasis, like Trump does. It's evidence of being soft in the head.

13

@12 -- "Whatever it is, something ain't right. I be he [Commissioner Ponomarchuk] capitalizes common nouns for emphasis, like Trump does. It's evidence of being soft in the head." --P'nm'nCRw'nf

OMG. That poor Bastard.
I hope, someday, they can find a Cure for the fellow...