Update: Judge Ronald Hare is well on his way to losing his retention election in both Precincts 7 and 17.
A Millard County (Utah) Judge up for retention in the November 2nd, 2010 is currently facing justice for alleged indecent exposure. According to KSL Channel 5, 63-year-old Millard County Justice Court Judge Ronald R. Hare is accused of "exposing himself to an undercover police officer in a Salt Lake City park restroom".
Yes, in a public restroom. Now think about it...how does a man use a public restroom without exposing himself? The purpose of using a public restroom would tend to necessitate the act of exposing oneself. I have yet to figure out how to use a public urinal without exposing myself.
Is this for real, or is it merely hysteria by an overzealous vice cop?
Fortunately, the Salt Lake Tribune is the one and only source offering more details. According to police reports, Hare entered a men’s restroom at Glendale Park in Salt Lake City on the evening of July 9th, 2010 and masturbated at one of the urinals for about two minutes. While doing so, Hare allegedly tried several times to get a glimpse of the man’s genitals who was standing at the next urinal. That man turned out to be an undercover vice squad officer. Hare was issued a misdemeanor citation for disorderly conduct, a class B misdemeanor, and released. It is a violation of Salt Lake City Municipal Code 11.16.100 and Salt Lake County Code 10.36.010. According to prominent Utah attorney Susanne Gustin, a disorderly conduct charge would not result in mandatory inclusion on Utah's sex offender registry upon conviction.
No other details are offered. A Google search of other sources also offered no additional details, except that an October 20th story in the Millard County Chronicle-Progress expressed uncertainty about whether Judge Hare was merely accused of exposing himself, or actually engaging in sexual conduct. Consequently, the Tribune's account leaves a lot to subjective interpretation. Was the judge really "masturbating", or was he actually having a difficult time urinating and merely stimulating his penis to promote urination? Many 60-year-old men have difficulties with the prostate, which restrict urination. And how is it that the vice cop automatically assumes the judge was trying to scope out his genitals?
What's missing from the media stories is a "smoking gun"; namely, was the judge's actions accompanied by a verbal offer of sex? If so, then there would be a stronger case. So what we have here is either a case of incomplete reporting, or else a vice cop whose imagination got carried away.
In any event, Judge Hare appeared in Salt Lake City Justice Court for a pre-trial conference on Monday November 1st, where his request for a second continuance was denied by Judge L.G. Cutler. Judge Cutler was also concerned about the appearance of opportunism, noting that the request also had the appearance of delaying the case until after Tuesday’s election. Judge Hare, who's served in Millard County since 1979, was recommended for retention by the Utah Judicial Council back in February. He's been suspended with pay ever since court officials learned of the charge back in September.
According to the Voter Information Pamphlet (scroll down to page 67), the Judicial Council certified Judge Hare's compliance with performance standards as follows:
1) Had fewer than the maximum allowable cases held under advisement.
2) Had at least 30 hours of continuing judicial education annually during his term.
3) Mentally and physically fit for office.
4) In substantial compliance with the Code of Judicial Conduct.
More information on judge selection and evaluation available HERE.