The Washington Supreme Court today reasserted that judicial records are not public under state law when it rejected a private citizen's request to obtain the correspondence of Federal Way Municipal Court Judge Michael Morgan.
Federal Way public records activist David Koenig had requested the release of all public records related to the resignation of former Federal Way Municipal Court Judge Colleen Hartl, including all correspondence to and from Morgan, the court's presiding judge then and now.
The City of Federal Way released 183 pages of documents to Koenig, but refused to provide correspondence to and from Morgan. The city cited a prior court ruling that established judicial records are not subject to the Public Records Act.
In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld its past ruling that the public records act "does not apply to the judiciary and judicial records."
Hartl, Morgan's former colleague on the bench, resigned Dec. 19, 2007. She was later censured by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct for having a sexual encounter with a public defender, telling court workers about it while she was drunk at a party she held for them, and then trying to conceal her misconduct.
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