Rape trial against ex-judges should continue after the judge is reassigned

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The delayed trial of a former southeast Washington judge on charges of rape and other crimes is now continuing with the first judge on the case.

Under an order signed last week and filed with the Asotin County Superior Court, Spokane County’s Michael Price has been assigned to the Scott D. Gallina case, the Lewiston Tribune reported.

Price chaired the first Gallina bond, indictment and status hearing in 2019 after the former judge was arrested at the courthouse in April.

Gallina, 57, is charged with second degree rape, fourth degree sexual assault, and indecent liberties for alleged wrongdoing against employees of the Asotin County Courthouse while serving as a Superior Court judge in Asotin, Garfield and Columbia Counties.

He has pleaded innocent on all charges and remains free on bail.

The trial has been postponed several times because of the pandemic and efforts to find a judge for the case.

Price originally retired when the newly elected Superior Court Judge Brooke Burns took office. She cited a conflict of interest and withdrew.

Walla Walla County Judge Scott Wolfram was appointed and removed at the request of the defense. Walla Walla County Judge Brandon Johnson took over but withdrew after handling a case in the Asotin County Courthouse and meeting some of the alleged victims. Earlier this month, Yakima County judge Jeffery Swan was dismissed at the request of the prosecutor and Olympic court officials returned to see Price.

The trial is slated to begin in Azotin County sometime in 2022.


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