Northwest Asian Weekly
Seattle Municipal Court Judge Ron Mamiya won’t be suspended or removed from office due to a sexual harassment suit from a former female court employee (unnamed due to the state’s public disclosure act). Mamiya was censured last Friday, Aug. 7, by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
The extra-marital affair between Mamiya and the employee began in February 2008 and ended in April. After the relationship ended, the employee claimed, in court documents, that Mamiya repeatedly went to her office or called her into his chambers, where he kissed and fondled her without her permission.
This continued and she resigned in August 2008, and hired an attorney. Mamiya and his wife filed for divorce earlier this year.
A mediated settlement was reached in November 2008. Though no wrongdoing was admitted, Mamiya and the city equally split a settlement of $135,000.
The commission subsequently launched an investigation and found insufficient evidence to prove that Mamiya engaged in sexual harassment. However, it also found that Mamiya’s conduct violated two canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
The 11-member commission decided Mamiya’s behavior did not warrant a recommendation to the State Supreme Court to suspend or remove him from office, but it did decide that a censure — a process by which a formal reprimand is issued to an individual by an authoritative body — was appropriate.
As a condition of his censure, Mamiya agreed not to engage in similar behavior and was ordered to complete a course on judicial ethics at his own expense. Within one year, he is to provide proof that he has completed the course.
Mamiya graduated from Franklin High School in Seattle in 1967. He went on to attend the University of Washington before getting his juris doctorate from the Gonzaga School of Law. As a judge, he has served on the bench since 1981. ♦
The Seattle Times and information from Northwest Asian Weekly’s archives contributed to this report.