Embattled Oregon judge indicted on criminal charges - KPTV - FOX 12

Embattled Oregon judge indicted on criminal charges

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Judge Vance Day (KPTV file image) Judge Vance Day (KPTV file image)

An embattled Oregon judge has been indicted on criminal charges of felon in possession of a firearm and first-degree official misconduct.

Judge Vance Day was arraigned in court Thursday on two counts of each charge. The felon in possession of a firearm charges are Class C felonies. 

According to court documents, Day "did unlawfully aid and abet the unlawful possession and control of a firearm by Brian Shehan, who previously had been convicted of a felony."

The indictment alleges Day facilitated the crime of felon in possession of a firearm on two occasions with Shehan, first between Nov. 18-Dec. 31, 2013 and again between Jan. 1-Jan. 12, 2014.

Day was a "public officer and employee" during those times, according to court documents.

The official misconduct charges reflect the same dates. Court documents state Day "did unlawfully and knowingly perform an act which constituted an unauthorized exercise of his official duties, with intent to obtain a benefit."

That "benefit" was not specified. 

Day's attorney released a statement Thursday night, saying, "We have been aware of the Attorney General's investigation for several months and cooperated with every stage of the process. We are extremely disappointed in the Attorney General's decision to pursue these charges. Judge Day is innocent and is looking forward to defending himself at trial before a jury of his peers."

Allegations of official misconduct were previously brought to the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability in the fall of 2015.

Day was accused of refusing to perform same-sex marriages due to his religious beliefs.

Day told FOX 12 last year, however, the accusations had more to do with politics than judicial process.

“Under Oregon law, it is not the job of a judge to marry people,” Day said in September 2015.  “It’s a permissive action. So the word the statute used is ‘may,’ not ‘shall.’”

Other allegations included hanging a collage containing a portrait of Adolf Hitler in the courthouse, acting inappropriately at his son's college soccer game and allowing Shehan to handle a gun in his presence.

The commission recommended in January that Day be taken off the job.

The Oregon Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about Day's "judicial fitness" in March 2017.  

As part of his release agreement in the criminal case, Day was ordered to have no contact with Shehan and not possess or consume alcohol or enter bars or taverns.

Future court dates in the criminal case are yet to be determined.

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