Spin Control

Bring on the Zamboni

Judicial races in Washington usually are notable for having very little notable to report. Candidates compare resumes, look for people to place in long lists of endorsements in their newspaper ads and generally avoid controversy in an effort to seem judicious.

One state Supreme Court candidate may have stirred up controversy just by filing. John “Zamboni” Scannell filed against incumbent Justice Debra Stephens. He’s notable for more than just his nickname, earned from driving the ice-smoothing machine for a Seattle hockey team. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the  blog.

. . . Scannell was disbarred in 2010. The Bar Association yanked his license for several violations that included allegedly defending a husband and wife without making it clear to them that they might want to be represented by separate attorneys. Most lawyers would have received lighter punishment, but the bar association brought the hammer down on Scannell because it said he thwarted and delayed the investigation.

He appealed to the Supremes, who in a 6-3 decision upheld the disbarment, with Stephens writing the majority opinion. In the minority opinion, then-Chief Justice Gerry Alexander said Scannell was being punished too harshly, essentially for “being a pain in the neck.”

His candidacy raises a constitutional question of whether a disbarred lawyer can be a justice. Language in the state constitution isn’t clear, said Katie Blinn of the secretary of state’s office. It says a judge “shall have been admitted to practice in the courts of record of this state.”

Under that interesting verb tense, a disbarred attorney may qualify; a legal challenge would have to be filed to put Scannell’s challenge on ice. Otherwise, he’ll be on the November ballot against Stephens because only two candidates filed for that seat.




You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Spin Control
Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

Follow Jim online:








Sections


Profile

Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801
Newsroom:
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile