I have an odd affection for Richard Pope.
Sure, his long and futile record as a perennial candidate and his obsessive posting in the comment threads here and on (un)Sound Politics have painted a picture of a man who is rather, well, unbalanced — a perception unrefuted by a 2005 court document in which Richard bluntly admits: “Frankly, counsel thinks his own mental health situation is terrible.”
I’m also a bit unsettled by Richard’s mean streak, especially his well worn habit of trolling through court records for dirt on public and private individuals, a dubious exercise that is almost acceptable behavior for partisan political bloggers, but totally unbefitting a supposedly impartial judicial candidate.
That said, unlike most of my righty trolls, Richard does sometimes make useful contributions to the occasionally lucid debate that somehow manages to survive the toxic wasteland of HA’s comment threads. And he’s also one of the few righties here who has the integrity and humility to back down when confronted by irrefutable facts. (Usually.)
Furthermore, as a divorced father myself, I have genuine empathy for Richard as he struggles to raise his daughter through what must be some very difficult and trying times.
But… what I absolutely don’t know about Richard, is whether he is in any way qualified to serve as a District Court judge.
An editorial in today’s Seattle P-I suggests “no”, citing his “poor” and “not qualified” ratings from groups such as the King County Bar Association, and his “unprofessional conduct,” some of which I have documented here. But Richard ably defends himself:
Yes, I have made some mistakes during the 15 years that I have practiced law. [M]ost lawyers have. On a few occasions, I have paid monetary sanctions to the other side to compensate them for the harm caused by mistakes. On other sanctions, opposing lawyers have paid monetary sanctions to me to compensate for the harm their mistakes have caused for my clients.
However, I have NEVER been disciplined by the Washington State Bar Association or the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. Very few lawyers or judges have ANY sort of disciplinary record at all, much less an extremely serious disciplinary record like Ottinger does.
The Seattle P-I points out that the “King County Bar Association” has rated myself as “Not Qualified” for this position. But the Seattle P-I completely fails to mention that Ottinger