Marion County Judge responds to accusations of misconduct - KPTV - FOX 12

Marion County Judge responds to accusations of misconduct

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Judge Vance Day Judge Vance Day
SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

A broad and detailed complaint levels several accusations of judicial misconduct against Marion County Circuit Court Judge Vance Day.

The allegations, which were brought to the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability cover a variety of scenarios, including Day’s behavior at his son’s soccer game, interactions with a former Navy Seal, and his personal beliefs about same-sex marriage.

Specifically, Day is accused of directing his staff to channel same-sex wedding applications away from his office to other judges. 

Day admits to shying away from same-sex marriage applications because of his personal religious beliefs, but he does not concede that doing so represents misconduct of any kind.

“Under Oregon law, it is not the job of a judge to marry people,” said Day.  “It’s a permissive action.  So the word the statute used is ‘may,’ not ‘shall.’”

The complaint also faults Judge Day for hanging a display that includes a painting of Adolf Hitler in the courthouse’s Heroes and Heritage Hall, which is on the same floor as Day’s office. 

Day said he took the picture down after about a week, when a fellow judge suggested that it could be seen as offensive.

Day, though, said it was meant to be a tribute to a local serviceman who fought in World War II and sent the painting of Hitler back home.

“It was his, and we overlaid that with various pieces, and the purpose was to show that a young, vibrant democracy of citizen soldiers could overcome a fascist dictator like Adolf Hitler,” said Day.

After reading and responding to the complaint, Day said he believes the accusations have more to do with politics than the judicial process.  He will be seeking dismissal of all charges.

“I think we need to have a really good discussion on how we’re going to balance our civil liberties with some of the liberties the court is deciding,” said Day.  “That’s a good process. I’m not afraid of that discussion when it’s done in good faith.”

Day and the accusations levied against him will be the subject of a public hearing on November 9th.

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