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News / Clark County News

Judge Wulle carrying concealed weapon after alleged death threat

By Laura McVicker
Published: November 17, 2011, 4:00pm

A reported death threat has prompted a Clark County judge to exercise his second amendment rights.

Following the alleged threat more than two weeks ago, Clark County Superior Court Judge John Wulle has started carrying a concealed .380-caliber Walther PPK most places he goes — except the courtroom. Wulle secures the gun in a locked box when he gets to work, though he still has the holster on his hip under his clothes during the day.

The judge took the precaution on the recommendation of several deputies, he said. Wulle also consulted Clark County Sheriff Garry Lucas, who told him that if he wanted to carry a gun, he should obtain a concealed weapons permit. The judge already owned a gun and said he’s trained to use it.

”All the people in security told me I should. I’ve received these threats before, and I was concerned for my family,” Wulle said Thursday.

The alleged threat came Oct. 31, when Vancouver police Sgt. Mike Davis was investigating a domestic violence harassment report and telephoned the woman who made the report. During the conversation, the woman’s male friend — who has no connection to the domestic violence report — made a threat against the judge over the phone, said Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Kim Kapp.

The man’s connection to Wulle or any motive were unclear; the only possible connection is that the woman involved in the report had a previous civil domestic case before the judge.

Reports on the alleged threat were forwarded to Clark County prosecutors. Deputy Prosecutor Jennifer Nugent said, as of Thursday, there was insufficient evidence to file charges — the case would have fallen under either charges of intimidating a judge or harassment.

The challenge in proving a crime, Nugent said, was that the threat wasn’t made directly to Wulle. Also, to prove harassment, prosecutors would have to show “reasonable fear” was invoked based on the actions of the person who made the alleged threat or there was a violent history. There was insufficient evidence to prove all elements, she said.

However, Nugent said, based on Wulle’s fear — which the deputy prosecutor didn’t know about until Thursday — the case could be returned to the officer for follow-up investigation.

Wulle said the situation has made him more vigilant of his surroundings. It wasn’t the first time. Three years ago, he received a death threat by a woman who called him at home. She was charged and convicted, he said.

Both situations have forced him to be increasingly cautious, he said, a growing trend among judges and others in the legal business.

“Judges 30 years ago didn’t have these problems, at least not overtly,” he said. “What’s happening is I’m more conscious of my personal security, my family’s security.”

Laura McVicker: www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; www.twitter.com/col_courts; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.