Former Pierce County Superior Court Judge Michael Hecht, convicted last month of felony harassment and patronizing a prostitute, was sentenced this afternoon to 240 hours of community service and “John School.”
The sentence handed down by King County Superior Court Judge James Cayce did not include any jail time.
Before being sentenced, Hecht told Judge Cayce that he had suffered greatly as a result of the allegations against him and his conviction. Hecht said he lost his job, and that his reputation had been tarnished.
“I’m a broken man,” Hecht said.
Cayce was not sympathetic. He told Hecht that the jury had seen “overwhelming evidence” of his guilt.
“You deserve everything you’ve gotten,” Cayce said.
A Pierce County jury on Oct. 28 convicted Hecht of buying sex from one young man and threatening to kill another to keep him from talking about their previous sex-for-money relationship.
Jurors deliberated for fewer than four hours after a six-day trial before finding Hecht guilty as charged.
Hecht resigned his $148,000-per-year position Monday.
He and his supporters maintain that he was wrongly convicted as part of a political vendetta by allies of the man he defeated in the August 2008 judicial election – incumbent Sergio Armijo.
Assistant state attorney general John Hillman argued today that Hecht should serve 90 days in jail for his crimes. Hecht has taken no responsibility for his actions nor shown any remorse, Hillman said.
Hecht’s attorney, Wayne Fricke, told Cayce that the former judge has suffered enough with the loss of his job and his reputation. Jail time would serve no purpose, Fricke said.
“John School” is a program offered in Tacoma and Lakewood for patrons arrested for soliciting prostitutes. During the school, the “johns” learn about the ill effects of the sex trade.
Read previous coverage of the case here.