OLYMPIA — A former Clallam County sheriffs deputy fired in 2005 after he was accused of having sex with a newspaper reporter while on duty had his law enforcement certification reinstated during a civil trial in Olympia on Friday.
OLYMPIA — A former Clallam County sheriff’s deputy fired in 2005 after he was accused of having sex with a newspaper reporter while on duty had his law enforcement certification reinstated during a civil trial in Olympia on Friday.
The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission revoked former Clallam County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Dwayne Haydens certification as a law enforcement officer in 2008. The training commission’s disciplinary panel in Burien had found that Hayden acted “under the color of authority as a peace officer” when he engaged in sexual activity with the reporter while on duty.
The woman Hayden was accused of having sex with was a criminal justice reporter for the Peninsula Daily News in Port Angeles, court papers state. She is no longer a local reporter in the Clallam County area, Haydens attorney Susan Rae Sampson of Renton said Tuesday.
Rex Wilson, executive editor of the Peninsula Daily News, said he was not prepared to make a comment.
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The revocation of Haydens law enforcement certification prevented him from working as a law enforcement officer in Washington state.
Sampson said that Hayden plans on resuming his law enforcement career.
Hayden worked as a Clallam County deputy from 1999 until December 2005. Before that, he served in the Marine Corps, and was a Department of Defense security officer guarding nuclear facilities.
Hayden appealed the training commissions revocation to Thurston County Superior Court. Any case against a state agency can be heard in Thurston County because it is the seat of state government. The appeal was heard Friday by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks.
Hicks reversed the training commission’s decision after hearing arguments from both sides Friday.
Sampson argued that the training commission had no grounds to revoke Haydens law enforcement certification because he committed no crime. The training commission’s disciplinary panel had argued that Hayden committed two misdemeanors, official misconduct and failure of duty of a public officer, court papers state.
Hayden was never charged with a crime for his alleged sexual conduct while on duty, but the standard for the training commission’s revoking an officer’s certification is showing that an officer’s behavior, if it had been charged, would have constituted a crime.
To convict an individual of official misconduct, a prosecutor must prove that a public servant has intentionally committed an unauthorized act “under color of law” in order to try and “obtain a benefit or deprive another person of a lawful right or privilege.”
Sampson argued that Hayden did not commit official misconduct because he “did not spend time with his girlfriend as an exercise of his police authority.” The two had a consensual relationship, court papers state.
“Because the record establishes that Hayden never missed an assignment or call, even when overstaying a break at his girlfriend’s house, it cannot be said that Hayden breached any duty of a County Sheriff or his deputies.”
The other misdemeanor the disciplinary panel accused Hayden of committing was “failure of duty of a public officer.” The statute, as quoted in court papers, reads, “Whenever any duty is enjoined by law upon any public officer or other person holding any public trust or employment, their willing neglect to perform such duty, except where otherwise specially provided for, shall be a misdemeanor.”
Sampson argued that the training commission’s disciplinary panel never presented any evidence Hayden failed to perform an official duty imposed upon him under state statute.
The training commission was represented in court Friday by an assistant attorney general.
Sampson in her filings never argued that the Clallam County Sheriff did not have authority to fire Hayden.
“The termination of his employment is not at issue here; a sheriff may fire an employee for goofing off on company time,” reads one of Sampson’s trial briefs. “Solely at issue here is whether Hayden’s conduct constituted conduct for which an officer may also lose his law enforcement officers certification” under state law.