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Hecht found guilty as charged in criminal trial

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Oct. 28, 2009 at 9:32 am with 17 Comments »
October 28, 2009 12:17 pm

A jury has found Pierce County Superior Court Judge Michael Hecht guilty of felony harassment and patronizing a prostitute.

The verdict was announced just after 10 a.m. today. After the first verdict was announced, there was an audible gasp in the courtroom.

Afterward, ¬†two of Hecht’s grown children and his wife, who have sat through the trial, started crying. They hugged Hecht.

“It’s OK. It’s OK,” he told them.

Jurors started deliberating the case about 1 p.m. Tuesday after hearing evidence and witness testimony over six days. They deliberated for three hours Tuesday before adjourning for the night.

Prosecutors had charged Hecht, 59, with felony harassment and patronizing a prostitute, a misdemeanor.

Assistant attorney general John Hillman has contended that Hecht bought sex from one young man on multiple occasions in 2008 and 2009 and threatened to kill another who last summer was telling people about his alleged previous sexual relationship with Hecht.

Hecht’s attorney, Wayne Fricke, argued in his closing statement that Hecht is an honorable man whose efforts to help struggling members of society gave his political enemies ammunition to attack him.

Hecht will be sentenced Nov. 19. He faces from zero to 90 days in jail.

After the verdict, the judge was defiant, saying he was set up by the authorities and Morgan Armijo, the son of the man he defeated in the election for the judgeship.

“It’s absolutely a setup,” Hecht said.

Asked what he would say to the jury that found him guilty, he replied: I say to the jurors, they were duped.

Hecht also said he was happy for the love of his family.

Hecht was elected to the Pierce County bench in August 2008, and he was sworn into office Jan. 12, the day after The News Tribune reported that Tacoma police were investigating allegations that he’d bought sex from Joseph Hesketh IV several years ago and threatened to kill him in downtown last August.

Hecht took a voluntary leave of absence from his $148,000-a-year job in March after his arraignment on the two criminal charges.

Hecht also faces charges brought by the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct. The commission has alleged Hecht violated the state’s judicial conduct code by allegedly exchanging cash and legal advice for sex, threatening two men, using racially insensitive language and engaging in unfair campaign conduct.

Find previous coverage of the trial here.

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. onetuffgrandma says:

    Three hours of deliberations after six days of testimony – wow – it wasn’t even close.

  2. criticaleye says:

    I dont think the jury was duped, they just saw through all the crap and lies that Hecht told them.

  3. favoredandblessed says:

    He needs to serve 90 days.

  4. stoermer says:

    “The gay sex for hire is very disturbing.”

    And the “gay” part matters because…?

    He’d be just as guilty if he’d hired women.

  5. juandd11 says:

    Here we go, it’s a conspiracy by the moral majority. Give me a break, sure the guy would be just as guilty if he had sex with a woman for money but for lot of people sex with another man is even more disgusting. You want us to accept your views, well, you better be willing top accept ours.

  6. barrymor says:

    Federal Way will be a little bit greener now that judge Hecht was found guilty and a lot safer now that he is off the bench.

  7. fivecardstud says:

    Like I said in the beginning “where there’s smoke there’s fire”. He had an excellent attorney but Fricke can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear. The people heard enough of his lies.The disgusting thing is all the people he’s tried and the ones he’s defended. I really feel sorry for his family it seems they’re the only ones that fell for the okydoke. Well at least he’ll be off the bench. Thats one cancer the people cut out of law practice.

  8. I have reclaimed the vote I once gave him.

  9. S_Emerson says:

    In this KIRO video, Hecht blames Adam Lynn. Interesting.

  10. Crazy_Amish says:

    wow !
    Some real new news actualy happend today,
    I was expecting this fine portrait of a citizen to be exonerated and then have the key to the city.

    Glad to hear him tell the “Jury” (thats citizens of this city) that they was duped,
    what a wonderfull offhand remark to the population,shure shows moral fiber with sarcastic remarks like that from such a lofty former Judge.

  11. charlesfmason says:

    The only people who were “duped” were the voters of Pierce County who voted for this very corrupt man.

  12. What a sleazeball this loser is. He finally got his just desserts.

  13. pattry2102 says:

    Good riddence to bad rubbish!! He never should have been on the bench in the first place. OMG!! It sure makes me wonder….

  14. PolarBear53 says:

    Its coming folks…..Its not over, You watch one of these guys is going to come forward and say he lied because he was scared of the cops. The drama hasnt ended.

  15. garthnbob says:

    Sure the drama hasn’t ended, now he goes to the appeals process and the taxpayer’s will foot the bill for that too. Sometimes I want events like this to be fiction given the position he held but now I have to wonder who else has “skeletons” like the Good Judge that act in the same capacity. It is bewildering to think that this man sat in judgement of others. What a difficult position for a defense attorney puts their self in to knowingly lie to protect his client. The whole thing smears the justice system, at least the jury got it right. And there are those who feel David Brame was innocent too….

  16. TheTacomaQuestion says:

    With Jury deliberations at less than 5 hours, compared to days or weeks, it would seem that any appeal would be fruitless.

  17. jlbaughn1 says:

    Another dirtbag off the bench in Tacoma. Congrats to the jurors who didn’t buy into his hype and lies.

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