UPDATE: Judge Michael Heavey charged with misconduct for letters supporting Amanda Knox
Heavey tells West Seattle Herald, "My letters were to advance intent of justice."
West Seattle resident and King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey was charged Tuesday, June 8, by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, or CJC, for speaking out in support of Amanda Knox, the West Seattle UW student convicted for the murder of her college roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia Italy. She is now serving a 26-year jail sentence.
Judge Heavey is charged for having used court time, materials and employees to draw up those letters. He wrote three letters to the prosecutors and a judge in that case in Perugia on County letterhead in 2008 while Knox was in prison awaiting trial. He told the West Seattle Herald he was upfront with the CJC.
"I self-reported this to the CJC January 22, 2009," Judge Heavey told the West Seattle Herald June 8. "A judge should not advance his private interest. I was not. I was advancing the interest of justice. I said in the letters that Amanda was not going to get a fair trial. that the people of Italy already had their hearts hardened which would deny her a fair trial, and that no evidence can soften their hearts."
Judge Heavey also told the West Seattle Herald that his daughter attended Seattle Prep High School with Knox and they would drive to school together regularly.
In a public statement just released by Judge Heavey he says, "Amanda Knox was a neighbor and a classmate of my daughter.
The crux of the charge is that I lent the prestige of my office to advance the private interests of Amanda Knox. My letters were basically to speak out against the injustice of improper actions designed to prevent a fair and impartial trial. This is not advancing a private interest. It is addressing fundamental principles of due process and fairness. My actions were to serve the interests of justice. I hope that the Commission on Judicial Conduct will recognize that and acquit me of any violation. This is a pending matter and I will not make further comment at this time."
Judge Heavey served in the 34th District House of Representatives in 1986, then in this district's State Senate from 1994-2000. Governor, Gary Locke assigned Heavey to the bench Sept. 16, 2000. Heavey was a second lieutenant in the Vietnam War and received three medals including the Bronze Star.