Oregon Supreme Court deciding fitness of Marion Co. judge - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon Supreme Court deciding fitness of Marion Co. judge

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The Oregon Supreme Court will decide whether a local judge should face sanctions over allegations of misconduct.

Wednesday, the highest justices in the state heard arguments from both sides in the ongoing case of Marion County Circuit Court Judge Vance Day.

The allegations against Day span a wide range of issues, some dating back years.

His lawyers say he’s being targeted unfairly for his religious beliefs, but the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability disagrees and is asking the state supreme court to remove him from the bench.

Day was initially facing 13 allegations of misconduct from the commission, but five have been dismissed.

According to the commission, the judge lied about a confrontation at a kids soccer game, allowed a felon to possess a gun at a family home, improperly collected fundraising money for veterans, hung a picture of Adolf Hitler in the courthouse and, most notably, told his staff he would not perform same-sex weddings.

The two sides sparred in front of the state justices, with commission attorney Tim Volpert calling lies by the judge “systematic” and “fundamental.”

“I would say listening to the commission’s attorneys calling him a liar in open court was a little disturbing to me,” Ralph Spooner, Day’s attorney, retorted.

Spooner painted an entirely different picture than the commission, saying dozens of witnesses are on the record testifying to Day’s character and integrity.

Day’s defense said the soccer issue was settled years ago and that day reported the issue involving the gun himself.

“if a judge self-reports a single incident and ends up with approximately 13 charges, unrelated things going back years before, I think it’s a logical question to ask, ‘Who initiated that?’” Spooner said.

On the issue of same-sex marriage, Day’s lawyers said judges aren’t required to perform weddings - it’s voluntary. In this case, they said no one was discriminated against since day stopped doing weddings altogether.

“If we have a good, hardworking, honest judge whose only disqualification is that he’s a Christian,” Spooner said. “That concerns me as a lawyer who’s practiced here in the state of Oregon for more than 40 years.”

The Oregon Supreme Court will consider both sides and decide what sanctions, if any, will be made.

Day’s lawyers said they’re concerned that Oregon taxpayers are footing the bill for the prosecution in this case, which adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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