Tri-Cities choose again at work after acquittal. Authorized troubles nonetheless linger

Judge Sam Swanberg gestures with his hands while answering questions during his domestic violence trial in a Franklin County courtroom. He was acquitted of the charges.

Decide Sam Swanberg gestures together with his arms whereas answering questions throughout his home violence trial in a Franklin County courtroom. He was acquitted of the fees.

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Accused Tri-Cities choose

Superior Courtroom Decide Sam Swanberg is accused of assaulting his ex-wife and harassing an ex-girlfriend. Test in with the Tri-Metropolis Herald as we report the newest on the story.

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A Tri-Cities choose was again on the bench this week after practically 9 months of authorized troubles.

The discover about Superior Courtroom Decide Sam Swanberg’s return was brief, saying he can be again on the schedule beginning final Monday.

Swanberg’s first task was reviewing the preliminary appearances of individuals in Benton County jail. The discover from Presiding Administrative Decide Jackie Shea-Brown listed no restrictions on the kind of instances he’ll deal with.

“I’m grateful to be again at work and look ahead to persevering with to serve my group to one of the best of my capacity,” Swanberg advised the Herald.

That is the primary time Swanberg has presided over instances since January when he went on paid depart after his ex-girlfriend submitting a civil anti-harassment order. Her no-contact safety order stays in place till January.

However his authorized points might not be over.

The Washington state Lawyer Common’s Workplace confirmed this week that they’re reviewing a sheriff’s division investigation into an incident involving his former girlfriend. Details about the incident was not launched.

The case was investigated by the Benton County Sheriff’s Workplace and forwarded to native prosecutors.

Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller forwarded the case to the AG’s workplace as a result of it concerned an area choose.

Swanberg’s lawyer Scott Johnson advised the Herald they haven’t been contacted about any investigation that might be thought-about a criminal offense.

Swanberg was beforehand charged with home violence assault after his former spouse of 33 years accused him of pushing and dragging her throughout a confrontation final yr.

Two weeks in the past, a four-man, two-woman jury acquitted Swanberg, discovering he was defending himself or his property.

Yakima County Decide Donald Engel who oversaw the three-day trial awarded $44,000 to Swanberg for his lawyer charges.

Washington state legislation permits juries who discover somebody acted in self-defense to rule if the state should pay the court docket prices and misplaced wages. Swanberg, who makes about $200,000 a yr, was on paid depart so Johnson stated the cash goes to pay his lawyer charges.

Benton and Franklin counties share seven Superior Courtroom judges and three court docket commissioners who deal with civil and felony prison instances, divorces, paternity and custody points.

Swanberg was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee in August 2017 to switch the retiring Decide Vic VanderSchoor. He was elected to identify in 2018, and re-elected once more in 2020, and has two years remaining on his present four-year time period.

Authorized troubles

Swanberg’s authorized points began in January when his ex-girlfriend Sila Salas filed for an anti-harassment safety order.

The 2 began relationship in spring 2021 when Salas labored for the Franklin County Clerk’s Workplace within the courthouse in Pasco. She later resigned and took a job on the Benton County Justice Middle in Kennewick.

Salas stated after her five-month relationship with Swanberg ended, he continued to name, ship messages, cease by her home or work and even had his mom discuss together with her regardless of her insistence the connection was over.

She filed for the no-contact order after a Dec. 21, 2021 confrontation within the Justice Middle parking zone whereas she was sitting in her automobile. He additionally walked via her workplace in an try and see her.

Salas was granted the order in January 2022 after beginning to work for the Benton County Workplace of Public Protection. Its workplace is on the Justice Middle the place Swanberg hears instances.

The order prevents him from contacting her or coming inside 500 toes of her residence.

Lawyer John Jensen, who’s representing Swanberg on the civil matter, advised the Herald on the time that Swanberg agreed to the order so she would really feel extra snug at work.

The year-long order permits Swanberg to proceed working within the Justice Middle the place the courtrooms are positioned.

As a part of Salas’ case for the order, his ex-wife filed an announcement of help for her that claimed she had suffered via Swanberg’s narcissistic bodily and verbal abuse throughout their 33-year lengthy marriage.

Stephanie Barnard’s 12-page doc triggered an investigation by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Workplace, which filed two counts of fourth-degree assault with home violence allegations.

Swanberg had filed for divorce in December 2020. That case was dealt with in Lincoln County Superior Courtroom, and finalized in April 2021. The couple have six kids and at the least one grandchild.

Within the court docket doc, Stephanie Barnard shared photographs from February 2021 when she stated Swanberg pushed her down arduous sufficient to depart a bruise and dragged her by the legs out of a room he was staying in whereas they had been separated.

However Swanberg testified that she lashed out at him, his automobile and triggered different injury in a collection of confrontations and that he didn’t really feel like he had every other possibility however to react how he did.

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Cameron Probert covers breaking information and training for the Tri-Metropolis Herald, the place he tries to reply readers’ questions on why law enforcement officials and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State College.

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