How would you like to trust your fate to a public defender only to later
learn that he had been sleeping with the judge?
FEDERAL WAY -- A Federal Way Municipal Court judge has resigned after
hosting a holiday party at which she claimed to be having an affair with a
public defender who routinely appeared in her court.
Judge Colleen Hartl quit Dec. 19, less than a week after telling her guests
-- including five court employees -- that she had sex with public defender
Sean Cecil and displaying a text message in which he complimented how she
looked in "tight jeans," Michael Morgan, the court's presiding judge, said
A statement from the city cited "personal and health" reasons for the
Cecil, who was admitted to practice law in 2006, was one of three public
defenders who regularly handled misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor cases in
On Wednesday, Morgan issued an order barring him from representing poor
defendants in the court.
Morgan also has filed a complaint against Cecil with the state bar
Even after admitting the affair at the Friday night party, Hartl showed up
for work the next Monday morning and presided over several cases handled by
Cecil, Morgan said.
At lunchtime that day, Morgan -- who attended the party but left before
Hartl's admission -- was advised of the relationship by a court staff member
who witnessed the statement.
Morgan suggested that Hartl not sit on any cases that afternoon, and she
resigned two days later.