After he refused to marry same-sex couples, Marion County Circuit Judge Vance Day has been slapped with a 3-year suspension, without pay, by the Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday. It is reportedly the longest suspension against a sitting judge in the state’s history, with the exception of two judges who were removed from office.
The Oregonian reported: The high court found that Day, first appointed in 2011 to the bench in Marion County Circuit Court, committed “willful misconduct” and made “willful misstatements” to investigators to cover up the truth.
Day acted with prejudice against same-sex couples by deciding he wouldn’t marry them and he instructed his staff to employ a scheme to avoid “public detection” of his plan, the Supreme Court said.
The court singled out as “exceptionally serious misconduct” false claims by Day that he didn’t know a man he supervised on probation was a felon. Day allowed the man to handle a gun twice in his presence even though Day had told him in court that he was forbidden from handling firearms, the court said.
The court also found that Day lied about being assaulted by a referee or sports official at his son’s Chemeketa Community College soccer game.
“We conclude that a lengthy suspension is required, to preserve public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary,” the court’s opinion said.
Day’s attorney said they are considering appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. His current six-year term was set to expire this year, but the suspension means he won’t be able to run for re-election at the end of his term, and will not be paid for the remainder of his term.