What the Hecht? Prosecutors Boycott New Judge Accused of Prostitution Offenses

pier09mhMichael Hecht, a new Washington state judge in Pierce County Superior Court, has a docket that most judges would relish: virtually no substantive cases. The reason is that country prosecutors are refusing to try cases before Hecht, who has been charged with soliciting prostitutes and then threatening a 24-year-old male prostitute. Hecht ran in part on his work in building stable and moral families.


Presiding Superior Court Judge Brian Chushcoff has stated that he will not assign substantive civil or criminal cases to Hecht: “We’ll try to assign him something else to do. We’re gonna try to at least keep him busy – I think the taxpayers expect that.”

Hecht was sworn in as a new judge on January 12th. At the heart of the allegations are two men who reportedly said that Heckt paid them of sex, Joseph Robert Pfeiffer, who reportedly claims that Hecht paid him for sex eight to 10 times over the past two years and Joseph John Hesketh IV, 24, who says that Hecht paid him for sex multiple times in the late 1990s. It is Hesketh who was allegedly threatened, but Pfeiffer reportedly denied the allegation as a witness to the encounter. He said that Hecht sought out Hesketh about his allegedly spreading rumors.

In Hecht’s bio, he states “My real life experiences as a home builder therapist for Catholic Community Services, legal background, 36 year marriage, raising three children and now a grandfather provide the well-rounded and common sense approach that I will use to make good decisions.”

In his campaign statement, he stressed judicial integrity:

It is degrading to the court when lawyers complain about Judges who do not know the law, cannot understand basic legal concepts, appear disrespectful, biased and punitive. Every person knows that they are entitled to their day in court. However, this day in court is meaningless if the judge is not fair. Pierce County cannot afford four more years of this. Let’s get it right this time. August 19th elect Hecht Judge. Cases will be decided on the law not personal bias. Justice must be blind not deaf and dumb. Litigation has a financial and emotional toll on families and children. A Judge who takes cases when he knows there is a conflict of interest is not acceptable. Knowledge of the law is paramount to upholding the rule of law. Attention to getting it right, objectivity, respect for law enforcement, families, children and respect for cultural diversity must be restored to this court. It is time for change and I say to the voters you will not be embarrassed by my decisions or my judicial temperament. Go to http://www.hechtforhelp.com and you will know I should be elected as Superior Court Judge.

For the full story, click here.

19 thoughts on “What the Hecht? Prosecutors Boycott New Judge Accused of Prostitution Offenses

  1. This in inappropriate on many levels. The most eggregious aspect being that Judge Hecht stands guilty of nothing at this time. Allegations are just that, and I suspect the accusers are not altar boys. Regardless of the merit of the claims, Hecht is entitled to due process not the equivalent of branding a scarlet “A” above his courtroom door with the inscription, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

  2. Agreed in theory, mespo. But consider the PR angle and that axiom about some crimes the mere accusation of is damning. What choice do they have but to sit him aside until this is sorted out? Sure, if he’s innocent, then give him regular duties, but until then, don’t you think the allegations – unfounded or not – merit caution until judgment can be rendered? I think that’s a fair price to pay to ensure that a possible criminal actor is kept from that position.

  3. There are too many appellate issues if he stays on the bench. Every defendant found guilty could raise an issue that the judge was trying to curry favor with the State in finding them guilty. The State, all though they have few oppertunities to appeal in criminal matters, could allege vindictiveness on the part of the judge in rulings which do not favor them. The chief judge in his court system is playing it safe (and wisely so).

  4. Seamus/Buddha:

    I don’t believe in a slander’s veto. I say if he wins his case, the matter is closed. Why deprive ourselves of a good judge because some ill-wishers make lurid statements? From what I see, we have inconsistent statements from two alleged hookers, and in my experience their credibility in court is just above Alberto Gonzalez’. The appellate issues only become viable if the Judge is convicted, and allegations of currying the State’s favor are the most fleeting kind. If he survives, I suspect the Judge, having been wrongfully subjected to the criminal justice system, will be more defense-oriented since his personal experience is more than “theoretical.”

  5. mespo,

    No one is suggesting a slander’s veto is valid, but maintaining a low rate of reversible error is a valid interest not only as a matter of proper administration of justice but as an operational efficiency as well. Why risk the appellate review at all if you don’t have to? If filling the bench is paramount, there are methods for expediting review of the judge’s case. And I take your point on credibility of accusers, but keep in mind even incredible witnesses are occasionally witnesses or are victims or accomplices of actual crimes. Even the weak of character deserve to be heard before judgment is rendered if they have relevant testimony, surely? Isn’t that what the rules of evidence and the judge/jury system is for – analysis of all relevant factors before rendering judgment? I do however agree with your suspicions of how the judge’s behavior will be impacted.

  6. Unless my math is wrong, this isn’t merely “inappropriate” behavior or even prostitution. It’s child rape. If the kid is 24 now, he would have been 15 at most at the end of 1999. So if this stuff was going on in the “late 1990s,” it would be at least 3rd degree rape of a child in Washington state. And if it happened before the kid turned 14 (1998 or January 1999), it would be 2nd degree–a Class A felony.

    The question is, is there anything going on beyond the initial allegations? Are the prosecutors who refuse to present cases before him investigating or pursuing charges?

  7. Buddha:

    We really don’t disagree. i have no problem with criminal cases being diverted elsewhere, but I see no ramification for civil cases being handled by this Judge. I do resent the executive branch dictating to the judicial branch how it will utilize the courts system. That’s not it’s call and the height of arrogance and self-righteousness.

  8. mespo,

    I will concur on the stipulation that he should be kept from any civil duties that would touch on prostitution or any charges he may be currently facing personally as a key element of any claim at bar in his court. For example, a landlord suing a tenant for breach over unpaid rents (and any ancillary clauses violated in the lease proper) after the tenant was shut down for running a prostitution operation would be totally inappropriate.

  9. Obama Picks Porn Lawyer for #2 at Justice

    February 3, 2009

    CHICAGO – President Obama has made a major mistake and put America’s families at risk by selecting David Ogden to become Deputy Attorney General, says Fidelis, a pro-family organization.

    “David Ogden is a hired gun from Playboy and ACLU. He can’t run from his long record of opposing common sense laws protecting families, women, and children. The United States Senate has a responsibility to the American people to insure that Mr. Ogden’s full record is fully reviewed before any vote on his nomination” said Brian Burch, President of Fidelis.

    “Ogden’s record is nothing short of obscene. He has represented Playboy Enterprises in multiple cases, Penthouse Magazine, the ACLU, and the largest distributor of hard-core pornography videos. He has opposed filters on library computers protecting children from Internet smut, and successfully defended the right of pornographers to produce material with underage children.”

    “David Ogden has collected checks from Playboy and Penthouse to fight any attempts to establish filters on federally-funded public libraries. Ogden even sued the federal government in an attempt to publish Braille versions of Playboy magazine – at taxpayer expense, of course,” said Burch.

    As a lawyer in private practice, Ogden has argued for an unlimited abortion license, gays in the military, and has urged courts to treat traditional definitions of marriage as a social prejudice.

    “A vast majority of Americans support parental notification before a minor’s abortion and protecting kids from Internet pornography in our libraries,” continued Burch. “Yet David Ogden has fought tooth and nail against these common sense laws protecting our children from harm. At a time when America’s families are under increasing assault, Mr. Ogden is a dangerous choice for a position whose responsibilities include the enforcement of our nation’s laws. “

  10. Larry:

    “… says Fidelis, a pro-family organization.”

    *****************

    “Fidelis” is an umbrella Catholic political action group dedicated to forcing Catholicism into the public square whether it wants it or not. It’s current rant is defaming any Obama appointee. The method of choice is guilt by association– a practice the Church refined during the heady days of the 12th Century when every eccentric female was a witch and everyone who knew the witch was one too. Very convenient from a prosecution standpoint.

    Predicting a lawyer’s actions in high office based on his clients is risky business given that John Adams represented the British at the Boston Massacre, and Lincoln defended slave owners. In any event, neo-cons have little use for history or professional ethics as evidenced by Fidelis which seeks to purge society of those it considers sexually deviant with scant mention of those roman-collar wearing deviants in their midst whose antics again splashed across the pages of the newspaper just weeks ago.

    BTW Larry, how’s Moe and Curley?

  11. It’s absolutely amazing to me how ignorant Americans are. Does no one in Washington recognize a Jew when they see one? The whole “spew” about the ‘Catholic Community Services’ oh please. What a filthy degenerate lieing scumbag. A Jew judge gets caught soliciting a Jewish male prostitute for sex, then threatens him with murder if he goes public… and somehow the “Catholics” are mentioned in the story??? You have got to be joking.

    i know, i know.. i shouldn’t be so hard on the poor guy. After all its the holocaust and stuff. I mean yeah. Thats it. The holocaust did it!

    Blame it all on the holocaust Hecht! you’ll get off scott free. But make sure you call Sergio a Nazi first!

  12. dave palmer,

    I guess it has been published. Wow and you can go to DC and just bend or turn a page. But because of the age, never dog ear a page.:

    Judge Michael Hecht was specifically charged with paying Joseph Hesketh for performing sexual acts on numerous occasions between 1997 and 2001. Did you get that folks? The prostitutes name was Joseph not “Josephine.” Making matters even worse is that some of the sexual acts that Judge Michael Hecht paid Joseph Hesketh to perform “occurred when Mr. Hesketh was a minor.”

    In its charges against Judge Michael Hecht, the Judicial Commission said that he would seek out male prostitutes in downtown Tacoma; take them to his law office; have them perform sexual acts; and then pay them for their services.

    Link:
    http://www.noethics.net/News/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=231:is-tacoma-washington-judge-michael-hecht-a-criminal-racist-and-pervert-of-course-he-is&catid=34:judicial-misfits&Itemid=55

  13. October 29, 2009
    TO: PIERCE COUNTY PROSECUTING
    ATTORNEY MARK LINDQUIST

    RE: REQUEST FOR INVESTIGATION OF FORFEITURE OF OFFICE BY
    JUDGE MICHAEL HECHT AND FREDERICK FLEMING, AND FOR
    FILING OF WRITS OF QUO WARRANTO

    FROM: ARTHUR WEST
    120 STATE AVE NE # 1497
    OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON, 98501

    Please regard this as a request for investigation of the forfeiture of office by the Honorable Judges Michael Hecht and Fleming of the Pierce County Superior Court, and for the filing of a Writ of Quo Warranto to remove them from this franchise that they currently hold unlawfully.
    The facts are as follows:

    (1)On Octrober 28, 2009, the “Honorable” Judge Hecht was convicted of a felony. This disqualifies him for office under the express ternms of RCW 42.40.020, which provides in pertinent part…That no person shall be competent to qualify for or hold any elective public office within the state of Washington… unless he be…an elector of such county,… municipality or other district or political subdivision. Since Judge hecht is a felon, he is not an elector and ineligible to hold the franchise of Judge.

    (2)In Pierce County Cause No. 08-2-043121-1, West v. Port of Tacoma, the Honorable Judge Fleming has refused to issue a decision a case within 90 days, and has allowed nearly a year to pass without a final determination. Under the express terms of RCW 2.08.240 and Article IV, section 20, such conduct automatically creates a forfeiture of the office.

    This conduct is especially outrageous in that it indicates a general failure of the Peirce County Prosecutor to ensure that qualified individuals administer justice in Pierce County.Due to this failure, a known patronized of male prostitutes is a Pierce County Judge and, worse still, a judicial determination of whether records related to regional infrastructure development (The SSLC) are required to be disclosed under RCW 42.56 has been unreasonably delayed.
    Please let me know whether you intend to take action in this matter, or whether it will be necessary to pursue a citizen’s action to remove Judge Hecht as well as Judge Fleming.
    I certify the foregoing to be true under penalty of law..
    Thank you for your consideration.
    s/Arthur West
    Arthur West
    Cc. Hon. Judge Hecht, Fleming, and Attorney General Rob McKenna.

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