Letters to the editor: March 8, 2008

Editorial overlooked judge’s work

It is disappointing that The Mirror has faulted Judge Michael Morgan (Mirror editorial, March 1) for sharing information about former Judge Colleen Hartl’s indiscretions with seven city council members while the media has shared the same information on multiple occasions with thousands of readers.

Morgan did not publicly comment about Hartl’s misconduct until after the media reports and numerous requests for comment.

In stark contrast to Mayor Jack Dovey’s statements, Morgan also did not publicly criticize other elected officials for those officials’ handling of the situation.

An accurate examination of the record shows that Morgan displayed genuine leadership in his handling of a very difficult situation by getting substitute judges to cover Hartl’s calendars; by making counseling available for any staff members who were troubled by Hartl’s poor choices; by prohibiting public defender Sean Cecil from representing indigent defendants in Federal Way until he disclosed the duration of his relationship with Hartl; by appointing new lawyers on all cases that may have been tainted by Hartl’s and Cecil’s secret relationship; and by agreeing to release the records that form the basis of this paper’s criticism.

I have served as a pro tem judge in the Federal Way court and I have seen Morgan assume additional responsibilities caused by Hartl’s resignation. Rather than criticize Morgan for dealing with circumstances he did not create and extraneous tasks no presiding judge should have to shoulder, I believe Morgan should be thanked for protecting the rights of litigants and holding the court together during a very challenging time.

Jon M. Zimmerman, Seattle attorney

Editor’s note: The editorial from March 1 focused on the leadership Judge Dave Larson will bring to the Federal Way Municipal Court. The editorial also called attention to the way Judge Michael Morgan handled a public controversy, and was not an affront to Morgan’s personal character or otherwise professional work ethic. — The Mirror

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