The fight for Edsonya Charles's seat on the Seattle Municipal Court continues! Today, supporters of Judge Charles submitted a letter, co-signed by a number of attorneys, to the King County Bar Association calling on rival Ed McKenna to return funds accepted from the Citizens for Judicial Excellence (CJE), a group which Charles's campaign says courted a candidate to run against her. The letter both outlines their concerns with CJE's alleged collaboration with McKenna and endorses Judge Charles.

Tupper tips his hand.
  • Tupper tips his hand.
"We are asking that Ed McKenna return [CJE's] contributions and renounce their support, and that CJE cease and desist their involvement in this race," says attorney James Tupper, a Charles supporter. Tupper went on to emphasize that his chief concern is not financial: "My concern is with the ethics of what [CJE is] doing. Politics in a judicial race does not apply."

That's bullshit, but whatever. (Why hold a press conference if not for the politics?)

Tupper also implied that CJE's involvement in this race could serve as an intimidation factor in future DUI cases. When pressed for evidence, he replied, "There is a very chilling message sent here. If you cause [DUI defense attorneys] any friction, if you don't salute [DUI defense attorneys], if you're not deferential to [DUI defense attorneys], your job is at risk."

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Late last month, Tupper filed a complaint with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission against McKenna, accusing CJE of recruiting McKenna and promising financial support to run against Charles. "I have never seen a race conducted in this manner," Tupper said, explaining the reasoning behind his complaint. "There is an absolutely bright line under the canons of conduct—a candidate for [judicial] office may not under any circumstances engage in a conversation with anyone to solicit support via endorsement or financial contribution."

When I asked Tupper if Charles's poor polling numbers in a survey of King County attorneys might have contributed to CJE targeting her, he replied, "That survey is tantamount to an internet poll... It can be easily manipulated. Elements of it are demonstrably false." So does Tupper think DUI defense attorneys could have been behind such a manipulation effort? "Sure, absolutely," he responded. "What would be so difficult about that?"

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