On Friday, District Court Presiding Judge Kelli Osler said the court “unanimously and wholeheartedly” stands by its prior condemnation of Zimmerman’s comments. She said the bench is made up of elected officials who have no control over Zimmerman, his statements nor his future plans.
“That being said, our District Court bench unanimously agrees that Judge Zimmerman should not sit as a judge in Clark County District Court in the future, and we will take the steps we have authority to take to ensure that,” she said in an email.
The long-serving judge issued an apology Tuesday, at which time he said he would temporarily step away from the bench. His current four-year term expires at the end of 2022. The state’s mandatory retirement age for District Court judges is 75; Zimmerman is 70.
“Judge Zimmerman is cooperating with the investigation that will take place with the commission. Under the commission rules, he’s not allowed to discuss the case further,” Townsend said in a phone interview. “He is aware of the comments and concerns and is listening, but he must also follow the protocols that are in place for judicial officers.”
During his hiatus, the judge is making connections to ensure the programs he’s been heavily involved in continue without a gap in providing services to the public and litigants, Townsend said, such as work on a pre-arrest diversion program.
“He wants people to understand how much he loves his community and how much of his 35 years (on the bench) he’s spent promoting justice and how strongly he feels about promoting justice,” Townsend said.
“Judge Zimmerman has and is reviewing the comments and statements that are being made. … And he recognizes everyone’s right to be heard on the subject.”
That criticism continued Friday with two more local institutions — a group of lawyers who help marginalized communities and a chapter of the nation’s largest Hispanic organization — calling for Zimmerman’s resignation.
The Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program said Zimmerman has failed in his duties as a judge.
The program, which advocates for and provides civil legal services to low-income and marginalized people, noted all of its clients live in poverty, and nearly 40 percent identify as people of color.
More on Zimmerman
Zimmerman: Oh no (unintelligible) I said, ‘Don’t send it to me, send it to risk management.’
Bartlett: That’s a good, that’s a good (unintelligible).
Zimmerman: (Unintelligible) But do you know?
Bartlett: Mm gosh.
Zimmerman: (Unintelligible) But do you know? You know, most people don’t. Even in the Columbian article, if you really look, get a look at the movie, they attach the movie, then you see, if you look just for (unintelligible) you see it’s little, because they couldn’t take it out of the description on the, whoever it was, was it Pierce County? Whoever released the first movie, it shows right there it says, ‘If you’re cop, if you’re a cop, I’m feeding you bullets.’
Bartlett: Uh huh.
Zimmerman: So when the police go out there, they kind of know he could be dangerous.
Zimmerman: I mean, how do you feed bullets
Zimmerman: if you don’t have a gun? If you listen to that tape, it’s my son Erik saying, ‘Look out! He’s got a gun!’ You know, he’s screaming. It’s the first voice you hear on that video is him warning them that he’s coming around the corner with a gun.
Bartlett: Uh huh.
Zimmerman: You don’t know who he’s going to shoot. He could shoot a pedestrian, I mean shoot somebody out there. But I think he had a death wish (unintelligible). I mean, he calls his girlfriend to say goodbye?
Bartlett: Oh wow.
Zimmerman: And then she won’t release her phone.
Zimmerman: So they really don’t know what texts he was saying.
Bartlett: Uh huh.
Zimmerman: He was so dumb. So another version was he thought he was going to go to prison for life, you know, for one deal. (Unintelligible) a year, he might get diversion, he might get drug court, but anyway, he was calling goodbye, and then supposedly, then she comes out with this false narrative that they shot him, you know, 30 times in the back. He didn’t get shot once in the back, you know?
Bartlett: Uh huh.
Zimmerman: But unfortunately he got shot. They were very, very convinced, and it still might be the story that he got two rounds off, because there’s two bullets missing out of the gun, assuming it was full.
Bartlett: Mm hmm, right.
Zimmerman: (Unintelligible) it’s 20, whatever, it’s 12, 12 shots.
Zimmerman: And then you have 10 in to begin with, then I guess it’s not missing two.
Zimmerman: They were even checking the guy. Erik said, ‘I was checking him for bullet holes.’ One guy thought he was shot. His adrenaline was going so much, he didn’t even know if he had been shot.
Bartlett: Oh my gosh.
Zimmerman: But they heard shots.
Zimmerman: So they thought he fired (unintelligible) you see the video, hell, they told him a couple times, ‘Drop your gun, drop your gun.’ And he didn’t drop his gun. He’s, you know, it shows him right there. And his dad says, ‘Well (unintelligible) (laughing).
Zimmerman: No, she wanted, it was depressing to have dark floors.
Bartlett: Oh, got it.
Zimmerman: You have dark floors, (unintelligible) would you paint them white?
Bartlett: I mean, I don’t know, I guess I can’t know until I’m in that situation. OK so really quickly with the…